Osaka to reintroduce Saturday classes for elementary schools

OSAKA —

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has announced plans to reopen Osaka’s elementary schools on Saturdays. The move is purportedly part of an attempt to combat delinquency and educational failings in the city.

Starting with five schools next week, Osaka will restart Saturday classes in all of its elementary schools from fiscal 2013, Sankei Shimbun reported Saturday.

Saturday classes were cancelled around 10 years ago, but some in Japan believe the cancellation has contributed to what is perceived to be a lower standard of attainment in education today.

Hashimoto told reporters last week, “Osaka’s children are performing poorly and delinquency is high. I’d like our teachers to try their best. To support them, we plan to spare no expense.”

Japan Today

  • 22

    Darren Brannan

    delinquancy? The kids are not the only ones who need to go back to school.

  • 11

    The758

    What will be done about the parents? Again, nothing.

  • 43

    Tamarama

    Where I come from, kids getting out and about on a Saturday is not called delinquancy, it called the 'weekend'. It often involves playing sport, spending time with the family or friends, getting to the beach, picnics, socializing....you know, healthy stuff like that.

  • 9

    Penfold

    The kids from Osaka should all get together and blast Pink Floyd "The Wall" at the Mayors office.

  • 15

    globalwatcher

    delinquency and educational failings in the city?

    Only in Osaka?
    Japanese schools are producing kids with no critical thinking and problem solving skills.

  • 7

    Ms. Alexander

    Maybe the teachers need to go back to school. Not the kids!

    Not only is each family's Saturday shot down, what happens to the "narai goto" (swimming, soccer, etc) the kids do on Sat? Parents have to cancel them? Reschedule it to inconvenient times?

    Kids need more that a one day break from school!

  • 8

    koiwaicoffee

    I think it's a terrible idea, and not at all a solution. Hashimoto as usual doesn't have a clue of what's going on and only wants his kids not at home.

    If you are a parent, can you refuse to bring the kid to the school on Saturdays? I'd do so.

  • 8

    Ms. Alexander

    I'd refuse my kids to go too!

  • 16

    Ronald F Stark

    I think the real reason is he hates teachers! Now he's going to add another workday but will their salaries go up for the additional work? Hell NO! My wife is a teacher and she works long enough hours during the week. I think parents AND teachers should give Hashimoto the big middle finger and see what he does.

  • -40

    Elbuda Mexicano

    I really like Hashimoto san! Teachers and people in general down in Osaka are in need of reform, bit hard for Osaka teachers to get into much trouble on Friday nights if they have to come in more or less sober Saturday morning, right?? Hashimoto san! Ganbare! Make them Osaka public officials EARN their wages!

  • 19

    cleo

    The kids need the weekend to recharge, be with family, do non-school stuff. Saturday school is a VERY bad idea.

  • 23

    Thomas Anderson

    Ugh, this is the same idiotic Japanese work logic that more work/overtime = more productivity. That's definitely NOT the case. Look at Finland, the kids spend one of the least amount of time at school and yet they get one of the top grades in the world. That's because they hire top teachers and so they teach smart. Maybe what Japan need to do is you know, not do more of the same that doesn't work, but actually change its course so that it works better? Japanese idiocy at its best. More doryoku and gaman will get us somewhere...! Or not...

    How the heck does sending the kids to school on Saturdays going to help grades and delinquency? This guy has no idea what he's doing and he's only making people's lives miserable.

    Hashimoto should just leave this to the educators instead of butting into an area where he definitely does not belong. Next he will be forcing kids to sing the national anthem and enforce "patriotic teaching". Good God I can't wait for this guy to quit like Ishihara. The guy's an idiot.

  • 11

    noriyosan73

    Seat time does not equal learning time. Nobody every learned anything from the bottom up!

  • 7

    Thomas Anderson

    I think the real reason is he hates teachers!

    He definitely has some kind of a deep-seated hatred for teachers. It's pathological.

  • 11

    Thomas Anderson

    I really like Hashimoto san! Teachers and people in general down in Osaka are in need of reform, bit hard for Osaka teachers to get into much trouble on Friday nights if they have to come in more or less sober Saturday morning, right?? Hashimoto san! Ganbare! Make them Osaka public officials EARN their wages!

    Excuse me, but are you saying that teachers somehow get into trouble on Friday nights? I've never heard of such a thing, this is Japan we're talking about; people don't usually get wasted on Friday nights, not especially the teachers.

    Your blind admiration of Hashimoto is disturbing to say the least.

  • 4

    Thomas Anderson

    Sorry, but I really have a hard time following that logic. If you don't want people to get into "trouble", then why don't you just let them work 24/7? Since they would always have to be constantly working, they would never get into any trouble! Awesome logic! Or not...

    It sounds like you're just coming up with something to justify whatever Hashimoto does. Again, disturbing.

  • 3

    FightingViking

    delinquancy

    To all those who just "copied" this word, you may also need to go back to school... It just makes me even more happy I sent my son to an International school where there were NO Saturday classes and he turned out just fine ! PS. The correct spelling is "delinquency".

  • 1

    volland

    T.A., you forget that most people on the planet are like that forist. In the other hand, if people would actually learn in school what they would need to become responsible citizens that are needed to have anything worthy of being called a democracy, then the idea of school on saturdays would actually make sense....

    But the protagonists of course simply show, that all this is about is control, and more control and conditioning young people to become another usual japanese sheep generation. Come election time we will see, how far the sheep are supporting the hahjimoto/Ishihara party. We may be in for a bad surprise...

  • 9

    valley-of-the-shadows

    If Mon-Fri education creates delinquency and educational failings how can more of the same on a Saturday change things?

  • 4

    kringis

    Ad additional day of indoctrination in the horrendous Japanese school system will surely do wonders for these kids. What little creative and expressive freedom they had left will be reduced even further.

    I'm sure the next move will be to make them wear cheap identical suits or "OL" uniforms, to give them a greater experience of adulthood.

    Pathetic.

  • 10

    lesenfant

    "Hashimoto. Creating families that spend less time together since 2012"

  • 6

    Thomas Anderson

    But the protagonists of course simply show, that all this is about is control, and more control and conditioning young people to become another usual japanese sheep generation.

    They definitely want another sheep generation.

    Look the Japanese schools are terrible, and the reason why there are so many delinquents is because the kids are sick of school and they are quietly and passive-aggressively rebelling. What they need is a total reform, not more of the same. Of course Hashimoto doesn't get that.

  • 1

    mikihouse

    In Japan elementary school has been made into pampering children. Their textbook even to 6th grade looks like cartoons with lots of illutrations and very few texts. Almost the main portion is written in Hiragan and not the Kanji. Children can not think. Teachers are not allowed to write pass or fail on the papers of children anymore, they have to write motto gambare. They can't rank kids as good, or best or bad anymore. Everybody must not be alienated. When kids study they get nothing in return. If they don't study they still pass. And such idiotic concept of evenness is killing competition.

    They were able to produce zombie workers for Japan with this kind of education before but they need to shake up. Give back school education to teachers not the parents. Why do the teachers need to cower and incorporate all demands of monster parents? The school principals won't stand against bully parents so teachers are on their own trying to protect themselves.

    Extending study hours ... is that the real problem?

  • 2

    cabadaje

    Hmm...

    So, to battle delinquency, a state in which the students ignore or even skip school based on a general disdain, antipathy, or even outright annoyance of attending classes...

    The proposed solution is to require even more classes, on a day which has traditionally been a day off from classes?

    This reminds me of the old joke: "We will have a company meeting on Friday at 5:00 to discuss the low moral problem".

    My old high school had a half-day on Wednesday and a half-day on Saturday. Not only did this give us a chance to relax on the hump day (traditionally the most tiring day of the week), it also got us up early on Saturday, not letting us cultivate a lazy habit of wasting half the day sleeping in.

  • 9

    hereforever

    I guess he feels the suicide rate among elementary students is not high enough.

  • -5

    slumdog

    The proposed solution is to require even more classes, on a day which has traditionally been a day off from classes?

    The idea revolves around the observation that many students do not come back to school after a couple of days off from it.

  • 5

    globalwatcher

    The issue is a quality of education in Japan, not extending it on Saturday.

    Under the government guideline, teachers have very limited curriculums to choose from. I still believe the best way to improve Japanese education is to make a school as a fun place to learn. Japanese government needs to allow teachers to be more free and creative in teaching. Be innovative. Give them tools, so that it can be achieved.

  • 3

    Thomas Anderson

    They don't need to compete, they need to learn and be taught. And the kids need to have fun.

    Many researches show that if you just leave children to learn on their own and surround them with many learning materials then they automatically get motivated to learn on their own. Self-determination theory determines that something is intrinsically motivating only if it's something that you yourself have chose to do, when something is meaningful to you.

    If the kids are motivated to learn on their own then they wouldn't even NEED to go to school on Saturdays. They find learning interesting in of itself so they will learn even when they are not asked to. Forcing kids to study or go to school is NOT the way to go. You'd have to WANT them to learn. And the teachers can obviously help them do that. Teachers are merely guides, not managers or drill sergeants.

  • 2

    volland

    TA "...because the kids are sick of school and they are quietly and passive-aggressively rebelling. What they need is a total reform, not more of the same. Of course Hashimoto doesn't get that."

    Quite the opposite, he does get it, and that is how he reacts.... Its called japanese tradition and japense culture. It is the only trick they know, tightening the screws a bit more....

    Japan's economy is in deep trouble and bound to get worse because of the overall corruption. Just look at the absurd infrastructure of the country and then look at the incredible amount of debt they have.. where has all that money gone? Certainly not into the infrastructure. The only thing of any quality is the train system, the roads are third world size, power lines hang up in the air as in Europe in the 50s. Plumbing is third world standard.

    What other choice than repressing every new generation does a country have, that wants its people to again and again accept the ridculous quality of the life offered to japanese people?

  • 2

    Ms. Alexander

    hereforever - I thought that too. I bet kids are being bullied are more terrified now :(

  • 1

    Thomas Anderson

    Quite the opposite, he does get it, and that is how he reacts....

    I meant he doesn't get that doing more of the same won't work.

  • 3

    marcels

    It,s not the quantity ,but the quality The whole system needs a complete overhaul, starting with the ratio of students to a teacher.... I sent my 10yr old son back to sydney for 6 months where he,s attending primary school, he loves it One teacher 12 students, and he,s become a lot more confident and assertive, he doesn,t want to come back, it,s a no brainer really!!

  • 5

    Disillusioned

    Ah, Japan will never understand themselves. The failing grades have bugger all to do not going to school on Saturday. It is because the whole school system is absolute rubbish! They just don't get it

  • 5

    darknuts

    What's in need is a higher quality education no more school days. Students will be more stressed out now and will probably be worst.

  • -4

    little_miss

    This article doesn't state whether or not these classes will be every Saturday. I agree every Saturday is too much, but once a month for three periods a day like in other parts of the country, well there's nothing wrong with that. There has been greater parent participation at our school since all events were moved to Saturdays. Even so, if inner city Osaka is anything like Tokyo, there is a large chunk of kids all alone at home all weekend while thier parents are working anyway. That is if they haven't been enrolled in juuku or sports in lieu of babysitting. I don't think this is a bad idea altogether.

  • 1

    paulinusa

    It's more about scoring political points than education and what's beneficial for the students.

  • -1

    volland

    @TA.... I cannot follow you: "I meant he doesn't get that doing more of the same won't work."

    Have a look into the history of Japan and you will see, that this is precisely what they mean in this country, when questioning if something works or not.... Consequently, loosing a future war to China does by no means tell them, that it did not work, as long as a few millions of lifes were sacrificed for the greater glory of the nation and things japanese....

  • 2

    blendover

    The move to cut school hours and also drop the pace and level of teaching was made due to concerns about results which were too disparate with those at the lower end suffering most. It worked out in the favor of the lower achievers to some extent only, but also resulted, naturally enough in a lowering of standards achieved at the upper end, except in the case of those going to private jjukus.

    For that reason there has always been a section of the public agitating for a return to the old system, and Hashimoto sees a constituency in that group. It's a political move, the same way that most of what he does is.

    The real cause of the problems in achievement doesn't in fact rest in the number of hours that are put in or in the level to which the class is set. It comes from the whole group learning style and a disinclination to use methods which cater to differentiated learning needs becuase doing that is thought to be un Japanese.

  • 2

    DentShop

    Well done Toru.

    This is brilliant news for all those businesses which have kid-focussed Saturday activities!

    And brilliant news for tax payers who need to pay for schools to be open another day a week.

  • -7

    Yubaru

    This is actually a good idea if people take a moment and consider it without getting emotional about it.

    How it's handled is important, if they use the current weekly school schedule and expand it to include Sat. then it's a REALLY good idea. However if they increase classes as well it's a rotten idea and Hashimoto needs to have his head examined, well he needs that anyway but that's beside the point.

    Students on average have 29 classroom hours of instruction during the course of a week. Think about that, the school day typically starts at around 8:15 and ends now at 4 PM or later, then club activities, and other stuff, and the kids end up being in school more than the average salaryman spends at his job. That's too much.

    Cutting down the weekly schedule and including Saturdays makes sense. Many if not most kids who participate in club activities are already going to school on Sat so it wont be a biggie for them.

    The problem is does Hashimoto plan on paying the teachers more money or keeping their current salaries in place. That's a different problem altogether.

  • 0

    blendover

    Yes, that is a very good point Dentshop, and bad news for English schools in particular. In addition to this move on the Saturday classes, Hashimoto is also proposing to introduce full 5 hour a week English instruction into all Elementary Schools.

    That will not benefit private English schools in the situation that school students are required to be at school on Saturday mornings, because parents will have reduced hours in which to send their kids to clubs. Many will reason that it is English that should be sacrificed rather than sports and other clubs because now they are getting English classes in school.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Oh one other thing, when Sat classes stopped around 10 years ago, the children were not going to school every Sat. They were going on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sat's of the month. The 2nd and 4th were off.

    Now is Osaka going back to that schedule or the one that stopped around 20 years or so ago when EVERY Sat was a school day.

    I still think his proclamation is a bit premature, there needs to be an agreement with the kiss-butt teachers union about increasing the weekly schedules of teachers BECAUSE if it goes at the current pace and then includes Sat as well, it would be against the Labor Standards Law and thus illegal. Will teachers now get summer vacations off as replacement for the overtime they put in weekly?

  • 1

    DP812

    Because the students in Japan always behave in class, right? Hashimoto wouldn't last a week teaching in a Japanese school.

  • 4

    Michael Craig

    OK, it's official...TORU'S COMPLETELY LOST IT!!

  • 15

    oyatoi

    The fact that Hashimoto is able to get his way on this throws into sharp relief the divide between the rulers and the governed. Where I come from, any plan to tamper with schooling arrangements would have first been subject to exhaustive public debate, the opinions of experts would have been solicited and the media wouldve ensured the canvassing of multiple perspectives on this very complex question with such wide-ranging ramifications. To all intents and opurposes, what we see here is the whim of one person riding roughshod over every other consideration. As a matter of principle, the undemocratic assumptions underlying Herr Hashimotos meddling should be stoutly resisted.

  • 4

    gaijinfo

    This is brilliant. After all, most successful people know that in order to achieve massive and lasting success, all they need to do is simply DO MORE of what is already not working.

    Sheer genius, this is.

  • -13

    volland

    @gaijinfo

    It is rude to criticise the culture of the country you are a guest in.... especially if it is the only wisdom they have.

  • 1

    Lowly

    Oyatoi-

    Wish I could give you 3 thimbs up. You hit the nails on the heads.

    GlobalWatcher-

    Japanese kids (and adults) completely lacked critical thinking skills and problem solving skills when I came here 18 yrs ago, and if anything improved mildly in the ten yrs since yutori kyoiku (No Sat classes among other things program). The problem is in part jpns culture itself, and the educational system or methods used, not the number of hours sitting at a desk with a numbnuts droning at them.

    (I should mention before conclusions are jumped, I do not think critical thinking always the best thinking, and like and find useful some jpns approaches to thinking/ problem solving. However, limiting the discussion to academics, yes, critical thinking is very important and far too lacking, as you seem to imply. However that is not best got w/ your bum planted on a chair.)

  • 3

    Lowly

    To add to Oyatoi's comment-

    The lack of a public debate, research, experts, parent opinions and teachers, and the one-sided nature of Hashimoto's decision (a lot of his decisions), shows a complete lack of critical thinking and good problem solving skills. I do hope the subjects, er, citizens, protest.

    It seems it is the all-too common attatchment to standardized test results and politicians' egos and desire to appear like they are doing something, that drives the thinking here.

  • -2

    Yubaru

    The lack of a public debate, research, experts, parent opinions and teachers, and the one-sided nature of Hashimoto's decision (a lot of his decisions), shows a complete lack of critical thinking and good problem solving skills. I do hope the subjects, er, citizens, protest.

    What you suggest here is a pipe dream. Believe it or not but there are PLENTY of parents and teachers as well all around the country that would LOVE to see Sat school come back.

    Some of what you wrote here, whether you realize it or not, is pretty funny and made me laugh, thank you. Experts? Research? Public Debate? etc etc....You do realize that this is Japan right?

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    Lowly, you and I are on the same page. It was very interesting to hear a dead silence when I challenged many questions from different perspectives. Everything had to be fed to students from A to Z. I suppose Japanese society is discoraging students to think outside of box. Everyone wants to think like everyone else. Everyone has to give the same answers.

  • 4

    rob-2

    I Toru Hashimoto should go back to elementary School too!

  • 0

    Thomas Anderson

    What you suggest here is a pipe dream. Believe it or not but there are PLENTY of parents and teachers as well all around the country that would LOVE to see Sat school come back.

    That's obviously because of lack of proper public debates.

  • 8

    Frungy

    Quantity is not a substitute for quality.

    A lousy educational system 5 days a week is still a lousy education system 6 days a week.

  • 4

    tmarie

    OKay, let's see here...

    Was anyone actually asked about this? Say, parents, teachers, schools, BOE, city of Osaka? Nope.

    Are the teachers going to be paid more for these extra days?

    Are teachers hours going to be cut somewhere else to cover these hours?

    Is bad kids are the problem, why is he not holding PARENTS accountable? Why should the schools have to deal with this issue when it is a PARENTAL issue?

    Aren't most kids spending time at schools on the weekend due to club anyway?

    What extra classes will be added? Let me guess, Japanese history and morality classes? Singing of the national anthem?

    Interesting how Hashi's kids are this age. Perhaps he just wants them out of the house?

    Family time. When are parents supposed to spend time with their kids and go away to grandma's for the weekend?

    This affects businesses and the like. Have fun with this one Senri International Saturday school.

    Where is the proof and research that classes on Saturday will fix all of Osaka's problems?

    Ele kids are the issue? Really? If he had said JHS or HS I might agree with him but then again, those students are usually already AT school on Sat for club.

    Doesn't this have to be passed at the national level? Tanaka, squish him!!!

    This guy is a dictator and needs to be stopped.

  • 2

    tmarie

    Oh and single mom/dad teachers... where are the daycares for their kids while they work? Oh right, not many because Hashi closed more than a few and doesn't care about single parents - even though him mom was one.

  • 6

    southsakai

    Elbuda MexicanoNOV. 11, 2012 - 08:01AM JST I really like Hashimoto san! Teachers and people in general down in Osaka are in need of reform, bit hard for Osaka teachers to get into much trouble on Friday nights if they have to come in more or less sober Saturday morning, right?? Hashimoto san! Ganbare! Make them Osaka public officials EARN their wages!

    You'll do really well as a dictator.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    The problem is they (Hashimoto and his cronies) are working under a belief that what worked in the past, (bubble era and Japan's rise from the ashes of WWII) can work in the future.

    There was school 6 days a week, family time was delegated to Sunday's, and here's something important too, mother's didnt work and stayed at home taking care of the kids and the home.

    This is what they are ultimately hoping will come back.

  • 4

    southsakai

    Very happy my wife don't work as a teacher anymore so she's not caught up in this mess. This guy is full of BS with his changes and policies. Crazy that I actually supported him a bit in the past. If he get's full power, he'll probably take Japan to WW3 and loose worse than WW2. Total fool.

  • -16

    Elbuda Mexicano

    If you don't like Osaka, fine !! As they say back in Hawaii, just get back on da plane!! Aloha! Hashimoto San is a great guy!! I really respect him for trying to clean up that corrupt mess called, Osaka!!

  • 6

    caffeinebuzz

    It seems like Hashimoto is thinking of the parents like himself who'd like less time with the family.

  • -12

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Me?? Dictator?? Yeah maybe but that is what a wild dump like Osaka needs, tough love!! Right??

  • 3

    tmarie

    Caffeine, indeed. the guy has already said he can only deal with his kids for 20 mins at a time and that parenting is his wife's job. All while winning father or the year awards and cheating on his wife. Lovely.

  • 1

    kansaifun

    Why stop at 6?

  • 7

    Frungy

    Elbuda MexicanoNov. 11, 2012 - 01:24PM JST If you don't like Osaka, fine !! As they say back in Hawaii, just get back on da plane!! Aloha! Hashimoto San is a great guy!! I really respect him for trying to clean up that corrupt mess called, Osaka!!

    Yup! Because clearly the root of corruption in Osaka is school kids (public menaces who need to be kept of the streets and my lawn!!), and teachers (obviously overpaid for the 12 hour days they work... driving around in their flashy k-cars!!)!

    ... oh and this post comes with a SEVERE sarcasm warning.

  • 5

    smithinjapan

    "To support them, we plan to spare no expense.”

    Yeah, with penalties, suspension, and firings, no doubt, if they don't stand up and drool over the flag, if they have tattoos, or if they can't keep 40 kids who grumble about having no free time in check.

    Sorry, Hashimoto, but forcing the kids to go to school for MORE hours than they are now is only going to result in MORE delinquency. Saturday school is nothing but babysitting for mom and pop. Forcing the kids to go to school more and providing no better results will be Hashimoto's own failing, but he'll find a way to blame it on the teachers and shut down schools.

    The only thing this will result in is increased bullying and suicides among young people. Mark my words. There is a direct correlation between the number of hours spent in school and the pressure to perform and do well and youth suicide. SK has the highest number of school days/hours in the world, and the highest youth suicide rate, with Japan having the second highest number of hours and suicide rate already.

  • 6

    Frank Rizzo

    Just what they need! More bad education.

    Japan seems unable to do anything but double down on their old failed policies and strategies.

    What they need is to teach smarter, not longer. Alas, people who have been educated in Japan, under the present system, are not able to understand how less could be more and smarter could be better.

    So, the net result of Saturday classes? Graduating students will be just a tad more passive, a tad less creative and a tad less likely to be the sort of people who will lead Japan in a better direction.

    So it goes...

  • 5

    Thomas Anderson

    I really respect him for trying to clean up that corrupt mess called, Osaka!!

    He is corrupt himself... how can he end corruption.

  • 0

    tmarie

    Isn't there a line about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting change is a sign of insanity....? Didn't work before so why would it work now?

    When is Japan going to demand that PARENTS step up to the plate and deal with youth crime instead of blaming the teachers? Indeed, the education system needs a re-haul but this isn't what they need.

  • 1

    globalwatcher

    13.This guy is a dictator and needs to be stopped.

    tmarie, yep.

    On Kimigayo, then tatoo, his own justification of dictatorship comment, and now on innocent kids... we figure this guy out pretty quick. He probably thinks we are stupid.

  • 6

    Scrote

    My son was bored, sometimes to tears, by the tedious pace of Japanese elementary school classes. They refuse to stream children by ability, meaning that many children have to endure day after day of lessons that are quite unsuitable for them. Now Hashimoto proposes more of the same. It's tantamount to child abuse and he is only doing it to get back at the teaching union.

  • 6

    Frungy

    tmarieNov. 11, 2012 - 03:16PM JST Isn't there a line about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting change is a sign of insanity....? Didn't work before so why would it work now?

    It's Albert Einstein: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

    ... but you're not allowed to talk about people having mental problems in Japan...

  • 2

    moomoochoo

    I'm so glad I wasn't born a student in Japan.

  • 3

    GW

    Thank god I never grew up in this country & thank god again I dont have kids here, what a nightmare!

    hashi, if you cant teach kids what they need to know Mon-Fri then the program needs FIXING!!!!

    Making kids go to school TEN days a week wont change a damned thing, as bugs bunny used to say Whatta marooouun!

  • 5

    DP812

    tmarie, to answer your questions:

    Was anyone actually asked about this? Say, parents, teachers, schools, BOE, city of Osaka? Nope.

    People like Hashimoto don't care about little things like the opinions of who this will effect.

    Are the teachers going to be paid more for these extra days?

    They're public servants, and Hashimoto says public servants deserve no fundamental human rights. I imagine he'll expect them to do this without a substantial wage increase.

    Are teachers hours going to be cut somewhere else to cover these hours?

    No, they have no rights, so they can be treated like slaves in Hitlermoto's world.

    Is bad kids are the problem, why is he not holding PARENTS accountable? Why should the schools have to deal with this issue when it is a PARENTAL issue?

    No, it's all the fault of the teachers. This seems to be true in every country, never a problem with the parents, always with the teachers.

    Aren't most kids spending time at schools on the weekend due to club anyway?

    Evidently not enough in Hitlermoto's world.

    What extra classes will be added? Let me guess, Japanese history and morality classes? Singing of the national anthem?

    Hitlermoto's version of history, where Japan was nothing more than an innocent victim of WW2 and has never done anything bad or questionable ever. Unit 731? Nanking? Comfort women? These things never happened. They're myths, like the Holocaust.

    Interesting how Hashi's kids are this age. Perhaps he just wants them out of the house?

    By his own admission he can't stand his kids.

    Family time. When are parents supposed to spend time with their kids and go away to grandma's for the weekend?

    They should be working for the good of a nationalist Japan.

    This affects businesses and the like. Have fun with this one Senri International Saturday school.

    International school? That's foreign stuff, we need to make Japan strong.

    Where is the proof and research that classes on Saturday will fix all of Osaka's problems?

    No proof, no research, just standard scapegoating. Fringe politicians do this all the time.

    Ele kids are the issue? Really? If he had said JHS or HS I might agree with him but then again, those students are usually already AT school on Sat for club.

    Indoctrination needs to start young.

    Doesn't this have to be passed at the national level? Tanaka, squish him!!!

    I'm not sure, there may be something that can be done about this. I hope so.

    This guy is a dictator and needs to be stopped.

    Agreed. I wish the people of Osaka would wake up and recognize this . Hopefully parents and teachers will both realize how bad this is for everyone. Set loose the monster parents on Hashimoto!

  • 5

    Okaji Masatoshi

    i think japanese bad custom, to belong to any organization for a long time, by the way, i hate hashimoto.

  • -2

    slumdog

    Not sure why I got the two thumbs up for writing the truth. It is quite common for 不登校 (students who will not go to school) to start refusing to go after an extended holiday. I don't think going in on Saturdays is the answer. I was merely describing what I see as a possible reason for having them do it.

  • -1

    slumdog

    Also not sure what is up with all the negative comments about education in Japan. The Japanese are a highly educated people that produce some of the best, if not the best, products in the world. Just because there areas that need improvement does not mean the whole educational system is shot.

  • -3

    Thomas Anderson

    Also not sure what is up with all the negative comments about education in Japan. The Japanese are a highly educated people

    You are wrong.

  • 0

    tmarie

    I generally find that people who defend the education system here have never stepped foot in any school here, or anywhere else, in the role of an educator. Anyone who thinks the system here is good is deluded or from a developing nation that also has subpar education standards and methods.

  • -1

    Lowly

    Scrote-

    and kids who can't follow along and need special help or a different method to get some abstract concepts. Or non-abstract ones.

  • 2

    Lowly

    slumdog and tmarie-

    there are some things they do really well, like memorizing math probs and memorizing kanji. they are very literate and science is good.

    i do not think the confucian system of education (which they are still based on) is all bad, but in gnrl a lot of what they do is better approach for skills based learning ( like learning a trade, or art or music) where blind repetition has very deep meaning because you do it (whatever activity) differently each time and you change how you do the thing, and gain sensitivity, intuition, understanding etc.

    When it comes to learning in a classroom, especially in the modern world when info can be looked up so easily, repetition is something that should be limited in use (tho not thrown out think i), and analysis, thinking, exchanging info and ideas, are important skills. Japan just doesn't deliver here. I've worked in over 20, probably over 30 schools, unis etc, here, (in several prefectures inc osaka) and seen it too rarely.

  • 5

    slumdog

    tmarie,

    Japan is an increasingly popular place to study among foreign students, particularly those from Asia. This is the eighth highest share after the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Canada and the Russian Federation. In 2010, 97% of Japan’s four-year-olds were enrolled in early childhood education – the seventh largest proportion among OECD countries and much larger than the OECD average of 81%.

    http://www.oecd.org/edu/EAG2012%20-%20Country%20note%20-%20Japan.pdf

    Japan is fifth in the world based on OECD rankings for Reading, Maths and Science. This is above such countries such as the US and the UK.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/dec/07/world-education-rankings-maths-science-reading

    Perhaps you are relying way too much on negative personal experiences that you have had rather than the larger picture.

  • 3

    Yubaru

    If you don't like Osaka, fine !! As they say back in Hawaii, just get back on da plane!! Aloha! Hashimoto San is a great guy!! I really respect him for trying to clean up that corrupt mess called, Osaka!!

    It's thinking like this that closes Japan off from the rest of the world. People start to blindly follow because on the surface it "sounds" good but in the end they are giving up their liberties and freedoms in the name of progress.

  • 1

    slumdog

    lowly,

    I agree there are many areas for improvement. I just have trouble with the many posters for whom the solution is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

  • 4

    HowardStern

    The teachers must be thrilled :/

  • -4

    slumdog

    You are wrong.

    Japan ranks 5th in the world. It is you that is wrong.

  • 1

    iceshoecream

    And in the next episode of Hashimoto; Mmm, this isn't going as I thought. Time for plan B. Good bye summer vacations.

  • -2

    tmarie

    Slum, international students for university. We aren't discussing post secondary education here - though I'd be more than happy to. Just because Chinese students are coming here to study doesn't mean quality programs.

    You're comments about ranking are laughable considering Japan has a habit of excluding low scoring test areas and students. This has been in the news before. I don't trust the test scores they put forward due to this.

    Credit where it is due though, Japanese does have a high literacy rate and does fair very well on science and math scores. Shame tests take problem solving and common sense though as Japan would be at the bottom or near the bottom.

  • -1

    tmarie

    Also, having a high rate of four year olds in schools demonstrates nothing except that all those stay at home moms don't need to be home if they're paying someone else to teach their kids basic skills they could learn at home. I could start in about teaching methodology and testing methods but why bother? Anyone who has spent any time here IN the system knows there are major problems bit be addressed. Adding more class time isn't going to solve these issues - and I'd go as far to say they'll only compound them.

  • 12

    Tamarama

    My wife, a lovely Japanese lady, is currently studying at University in Australia to get her Diploma of Education. She is a naturally intelligent woman who is doing very well in the course because she is engaged and extremely motivated. And interestingly she is fascinated and quite shocked by the vast differences between the two education systems and is both acutely aware of, and extremely frustrated by, the shortcomings of the rote learning Japanese system she grew up in. She finds that, as a result of her education, it is very difficult to think laterally and creatively when presented with problems and hypotheses by her lecturers whilst observing her western classmates easily working through the same problems. She is astonished to learn about 'open ended' questioning techniques designed to guide and simulate students to inquire by themselves. She is amazed to see teachers learning to mold their students to be independent and proactive learners, whilst she herself grew up learning there was only one correct answer to everything and the ultimate purpose of school was to get good grades, not learn. In short, she feels extremely let down by her education. She is smart, but she has been conditioned to be a linear thinker who has to really struggle to break out of that mentality. She believes it is a deeply flawed system. My guess is, she would think of Hashimoto's idea as positively Jurrasic.

  • 5

    Tamarama

    Yikes, that would be Jurassic. Perhaps I needed a bit more rote in my education.... :)

  • 7

    presto345

    Is Hashimoto now the self proclaimed minister of education? Does he have the authority to unilaterally take measures that have a serious impact on people's lives without a general consensus?

  • 3

    Thunderbird2

    God, don't the poor kids already spend enough time in school? And to single out elementary school kids, the ones under 12 who aren't even a sizeable part of the NED population. Osaka is turning into an enclave with Hashimoto's bizarre ultra-right policies.

    What next... all boys to wear shorts and peaked caps? All boys over 15 to enroll in a quasi-military club after school where they practice rifle drill, swordsmanship and how to treat women like cattle? How about making Yukio Mishima's poetry compulsory learning material?

    Man is a nutter... get rid of him!

  • 2

    DP812

    slumdog, I have to wonder if you have ever set foot in a Japanese public school. You are aware that students are basically allowed to move on to the next level, regardless of their grades, right? Tests are dumbed down so that all the students, even the ones who don't study, will be able to pass. There are high schools and colleges that have more openings than applicants. More and more schools have been lowering their standards for admissions and in turn, lowering their standards for the classes.

    If you think this is a recipe for good education, then you don't know anything about education.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    Is Hashimoto now the self proclaimed minister of education? Does he have the authority to unilaterally take measures that have a serious impact on people's lives without a general consensus?

    When it comes to Elementary and Junior High School education the City mayor has quite a bit of power over the city schools. Funding for the schools or a major portion of it comes directly from the city.

    In other words yes he can and seeing as how it's Hashimoto, consensus is not a word in his vocabulary.

  • -1

    Thomas Anderson

    Japan ranks 5th in the world. It is you that is wrong.

    Ranked 5th in basically rote memorization. After at around the age of 17 Japan does not do well in science and math.

    http://www.oecd.org/edu/EAG2012%20-%20Country%20note%20-%20Japan.pdf

    And Japanese teachers are the least paid in OECD countries... gotta feel sorry for them.

  • -2

    Lowly

    sorry slum dog, it's beyond the "there are areas that need improvement" level. I personally don't think it ALL has to be thrown out, but 60-70% does.

    tmarie and tamarama have it right.

  • -1

    slumdog

    I will agree to disagree. This country is full of educated people. Many high school students here go overseas to places like the US and find the maths and sciences way behind what they were studying in Japan. The literacy rate is high, especially for a language as difficult as Japanese is.

    And Japanese teachers are the least paid in OECD countries

    I wonder if that includes their bonuses.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    This country is full of educated people.

    On paper yes. However the fact is the levels are dropping considerably and there is little hope for things getting better in the near future until changes are made.

  • -1

    slumdog

    I personally don't think it ALL has to be thrown out, but 60-70% does.

    60-70? What does that even mean? tmarie basically sees nothing good in Japanese education. Sorry, I disagree.

    Yes, there are many areas that need improving. However, a real look at your own countries' education systems would show the same needs for improvement.

  • -1

    slumdog

    However the fact is the levels are dropping considerably and there is little hope for things getting better in the near future until changes are made.

    Isn't this true about most first world countries?

  • -1

    slumdog

    What I find ironic is that black and white attitudes of some of the posters here. You seem what you say is wrong with the Japanese educational system. You seem to have no room for even the slightest disagreement.

  • -1

    slumdog

    Sorry, the second line should have been 'you seem to mirror with your attitudes what you say is wrong with the Japanese educational system.

  • 0

    slumdog

    Ranked 5th in basically rote memorization.

    These are standard tests that were checked by the OECD.

    After at around the age of 17 Japan does not do well in science and math.

    Based on what?

  • 8

    gogogo

    So teachers in Osaka

    cant drink cant have tattoos cant smoke on their breaks are forced to sing the national anthem (or get fined)

    and now have to work Saturdays?

  • -3

    tmarie

    ** tmarie basically sees nothing good in Japanese education**

    I've said no such thing and agreed that they have a great literacy rate. I do think that much needs to be changed though.

    ** This country is full of educated people. Many high school students here go overseas to places like the US and find the maths and sciences way behind what they were studying in Japan. **

    Full of people educated by the Japanese system which we are stating has issues. Critical thinking skills and common sense are lacking here because it isn't "taught" nor tested. "Many" high school students don't go abroad to study. Those that do (and the numbers are dropping every year) often have to attend language schools for a least a year because their English levels are so bad. Many also aren't taking math and science classes so I have no idea where you're getting your info from. Perhaps you'd like to give a link for such research?

    Yes, there are many areas that need improving. However, a real look at your own countries' education systems would show the same needs for improvement.

    No one is saying that "our" education systems are perfect and don't need improving. There is no such thing as a perfect education system. However, you're trying to compare very different system (how many immigrants does Japan have that would lower the test scores?) that places educational values in very different areas. Japan values rote learning and these are what most tests focus on here and at "home" when it comes to standards and comparing because they are the easiest to do this with. Now if there were critical thinking and problem solving standard tests, how do you think Japan would fair? Not well.

    Regardless, none of this has to do with the issue at hand. Hashi isn't caring about how Osaka does with the rest of the world. He cares about creating his little empire of drones and brainwash them to follow as he says. I hope Tanaka comes in and sets him straight - funny, wasn't she just taken to task about making rash decisions the other day?

    Tama, thank you. I wish your wife well. It is a shock for folks who go abroad to study. I have yet to meet one who thinks highly of the Japanese education system.

  • 3

    BernieK

    Going through adolesence, but being labeled a deliquent and a failure sucks. I'm not even a doctor. Every one just chill.

  • 10

    Ivan Coughanoffalot

    Can somebody please explain why it is considered acceptable that Japanese kids need 40% more tuition to learn - at a generous estimate - no more than kids anywhere else in the developed world?

    School on Saturday, juku every night - it ought to add up to Japanese kids leaving their rivals in the dust. But no. Just a bunch of soulless, slackjawed, exhausted kids, terrified of not performing the correct vapid ritual at the appropriate time.

  • 0

    slumdog

    I've said no such thing

    Really? You said this:

    Anyone who thinks the system here is good is deluded or from a developing nation that also has subpar education standards and methods.

    I had a lot of trouble finding anything positive in this statement and further have trouble seeing any acceptance on your part of anyone else saying anything positive.

    Regardless, none of this has to do with the issue at hand.

    Then perhaps you and others should focus more on that issue. You might see more agreement.

  • 3

    Abdul Ojukwu

    Edison: people think REAL EDUCATION comes from sitting down in a dull brickhouse presided by a system- mental slave called teacher.
    Steve Jobs: that's why i've been shouting from my cradle to my grave , that people need to think different. Edison:hmm... It's just a system of controlling 'sheeple'... this schooling system. Look at me, I had very few years of schooling, but I educated myself till the day I died.
    Steve Jobs: They never want to think different. Unlike my friend...em, what's his name?
    Edison: Mark Twain Steve Jobs: ah! Yes .' I never allowed schooling to interfere with my education.' These people just don't learn.

  • 2

    Thomas Anderson

    slumdog

    I will agree to disagree. This country is full of educated people. Many high school students here go overseas to places like the US and find the maths and sciences way behind what they were studying in Japan.

    Have you ever talked to a random Japanese person? Japanese people are taught to not question or to think critically. It shows.

    And yes, Japanese students do very well up to around the age of 15. They don't do so well at university level math and science.

    especially for a language as difficult as Japanese is.

    All languages are difficult, there's no such thing as a "difficult language". In fact you could say that Japanese grammar is pretty simple.

  • 7

    Oz_Monster

    Its quality of education, and the type of education rather than quantity. I have a young daughter and so happy that I am not living in Osaka. My family time with my kid on a weekend is so precious, why would I want my kid to attend school on Saturdays? If the schools cannot teach what they have to in 5 days, then its the Education system which needs to be reformed and drastically improved.

  • 5

    Abdul Ojukwu

    Today's Education= Controlling the 'Sheeple' by taking away free time for self-discovery.

  • 2

    Thomas Anderson

    slumdog

    These are standard tests that were checked by the OECD.

    I meant the Japanese education system stresses on rote memorization... duh.

    Based on what?

    Japanese students don't do well on tasks that require creative problem solving skills. Basically, any higher/university level math and science.

  • 1

    Thomas Anderson

    LOL @ thumb downs. Some of you people have obviously never set a foot in a Japanese public school...

  • 3

    Abdul Ojukwu

    Edison: but whereas, the ruling class have their own separate education. Steve Jobs: what's that? Edison: financial education and power/governance education. 'Give me control of a people's money, and I don't care who is in power'. Steve Jobs: hey! Let's not go there! Talking about the 1%. Edison: but the masses get bogged down with theories and formulas which amount to nothing. Steve Jobs: true words...

  • 1

    Thomas Anderson

    In fact most education systems around the world probably haven't changed since WW2 and it's basically used as an indoctrination system. But I think the Japanese education system is especially in need of a reform.

  • 3

    Frank Rizzo

    Tmarie is spot on: The folks on this thread who claim that Japan has a good education system have never set foot in a Japanese school. Nor have they met or spoken to the products of Japan's "education" system. Okay, so they can memorize a lot of facts, but can they THINK? And, if Japan's education system is so great, how come the graduates of Japan's school place LAST IN THE WORLD on the TOEFL IBT speaking section? Come on, they place last out of over 100 countries and you're going to tell me the education system is good?

    Why don't you try teaching in a Japanese school at any level? Why don't you sit down and talk with Japanese university students or recent graduates? Then, come and try to tell me with a straight face that Japan's education system is good.

    There is a persisten myth that schools in Japan are good. I encounter it all the time. It's widely held outside Japan by people who have never visited Japan. They imagine schools filled with serious students doing rigorous studies taught by good teachers. One day in any Japanese learning institution is more than enough to disabuse anyone of this totally risible belief.

    Of course, I'll get flamed by the rose-colored-spectacle-wearing Japan apologists and a gang of people who have never set foot in Japan, but those on this thread who have actually experienced the Japanese "education" system know that I am right.

  • 6

    Mike Critchley

    Let's just do more of the same stuff that doesn't work and that will make things better. Good logic, Hashimoto. NOT. I guess that was his Plan B after banning teachers with Tattoos didn't work. lol

    And I agree entirely with Frank Rizzo above. Kids from K-university don't need more education. They need better education. The system in Japan has worked for years to produce worker bees willing to fall on their proverbial sword (stingers? lol) for the company. Japan doesn't need that now. Japan needs free-thinking innovators who can clean up the mess currently being created by those in power today.

  • 4

    Lowly

    slumdog,

    I can't vouch for what tmarie says in specific because I'm not her, but she saw need for improvement and I seconded that.

    60-70%, well, ok, not quantifiable. I see a few good things but mostly frustrated kids who have a very narrow concept of the world, different kinds of ppl, themselves in the world, and many have no relationship w their parents, don't see friends oustide of lunch recess b/c they are going to cram school til all hours of night or home studying. Then they can't be in more than one club or sports team, b/c club activities are like joining a religion or the army, and you're swept up w/ club activities of one club for three years which gives you respect for your upperclassmen and intense training in something, but does not give you broad experience, and again, you are waiting to be told what to do from above all the time and not trying or inventing yourself. I do see good things in some of all this, by the way, and in society at large, Ive been here a long time, and am involved in traditional jpns arts for a long time, which has all that in it.

    But they need more. I assign essays in my writing class and discover they do very little composition beyond little one or two paragraph reports in their Japanese classes. I give them what I can, but English is a foreign language, so the focus is just on using the right verb tense and just making sense, not so much on flowing connected structure. I discover in their jpns classes and history classes they go thru digested texts "about" literature and events w/ little primary resources (even in lit/ jpns class). They don't get to encounter the stuff for themselves and see how it makes them feel. They don7t get to develop their own opinion about stuff or analyze it very much either. Just memorize the digested texts for memorization tests, and then forget it all the next yr. I could go on, but have I given you enough of an idea of where the 60-70% # comes from?

    Thomas Anderson is right, btw, there are no difficult or easy languages. It takes extra time to learn kanji, but that is not the same as being difficult. And since they were born into it, it is not possible that it is a difficult language for them. Maybe it is difficult for you if you learned another language first. Still the level of literacy they had was admirable. Don't know about now tho, w/ the comix and video games. No one reads anymore.

    This is why I think Sat school is going to do little to solve anything and could make things worse.

    Making these criticisms, btw, doesn't mean I am talking down to jpn or thinking my country's system is better or perfect. That is nonsense. More like a responsible citizen and involved member of the system (teacher) saying s/t that needs to be said. (Granted venting on jt isn't really going to have a big effect.) It is off-topic, but given the chance I could go on about all kinds of things in my own country.

  • 4

    Eve Aphayboun

    @ slumdog "Also not sure what is up with all the negative comments about education in Japan. The Japanese are a highly educated people that produce some of the best, if not the best, products in the world."

    Hmmm... Can you name some recent ones? In my opinion, it seems like they've stood still for far too long (past decade). What have they contributed to the world recently that has had massive effects aside from Toyota's/Honda's global dominance? I'm really curious to know, because I cant think of anything off the top of my head. If you think about the technological advancements and new products that have been introduced in the past decade, most have come from South Korea, North America, and Europe. IE: Facebook, Twitter, Samsung, Apple, Android, Angry Birds, etc. I could go on, but the point is, I can't seem to recall anything big coming out of Japan.

    It seems to me that Japan still seems to believe in hashing out drones of salarymen to work their lives out at a big corporation. What they've failed to notice is that while major corporations still are important, it's the innovative start-ups are the ones leading the way in countries like America (which has one of the best education systems in the world, on only 5 days a week).

    Someone made a comment earlier about how education system's globally are still the same... That's not entirely true though. Many First World countries are constantly trying to improve their systems, without even a thought of adding an extra day. Sure, there will be delinquents, but there will also be successes. Education systems now is very much different than when I went to school. If you go into some schools in Canada for example, the students in primary school all use tablets like the iPad, to do their work (allowed to take home instead of heavy textbooks). Even in Finland, there are NO tests assigned for primary school students, and one free meal is given out a day. And this is public school, as there are only a handful of private schools. Not to mention that different schools have deployed private social networks for the students to submit their homework online (and where parents can ask questions and monitor).

    It's unfortunate that while the rest of the world is producing students to go live in a global and connected society, Hashimoto has chosen to do the opposite, ensuring that these students remain in Japan, and think only of Japan.

  • 0

    Jaymann

    @ Eve - An excellen response Eve!

    Typical of a politician to decide that he knows best about education. More hours at aschool doesn't equate to better education and again shifts responsibility for social issues onto teachers (who already face far too large workloads.... < real teachers that is, not ALTs)

    This is happening all round the world as politicians and parents shirk their responsibilites onto teachers. Will teachers be given extra compensation for this?

  • -12

    YuriOtani

    This will help ensure the children are educated. So many people putting down the Japanese education system while the ones in their home countries are much worse.

  • 3

    omicron

    To be honest, I think the best way for the students to achieve better education is to improve the quality of materials in Japan. No doubt many people here have been to Japanese schools and many teachers are "minimalist," they try to teach with less materials as much as possible. They should use more tools than chalk. I rarely see teachers use the flat screen TVs in school.

    About the additional day, they can just add an extra hour a day so they don't have to be in school on Saturdays, don't you think that's easier?

  • 1

    Alistair Carnell

    School here only teaches 'what to think', rather than 'how to think'.

  • -4

    Ms. Alexander

    I don't think any education system can be perfect. The Japanese system, IMO, is far better than Dodds school (schools on base) though. Sure, they might be memorizing stuff but at least they can do math. Not a lot of American kids are at the same level as Japanese kids in terms of math. Science is better too.

    Someone mentioned Japan scoring super low on TOEFL. IMO, Japan doesn't really care about teaching/learning English. The only reason they teach it (and half-assed at that) is to "prove" to the rest of the world that they're not as xenophobic as everyone thinks they are. (But we know they are!)

    Maybe Japan needs to make high school mandatory!

    In the end, though, I think Hashimoto is just stirring up more drama. Sat schools aren't going to fix Osaka's issues.

  • 1

    Thomas Anderson

    This will help ensure the children are educated. So many people putting down the Japanese education system while the ones in their home countries are much worse.

    They also teach (brainwash) you to never question their government or country.

  • -8

    slumdog

    The folks on this thread who claim that Japan has a good education system have never set foot in a Japanese school. Nor have they met or spoken to the products of Japan's "education" system. Okay, so they can memorize a lot of facts, but can they THINK?

    No, the Japanese have no opinions, question nothing, cannot think for themselves. Seriously, have you ever had a discussion with Japanese people. Have you even read the opinion section of a Japanese newspaper? There is plenty of questioning, reasoning, and critical thinking there for all to see.

  • -2

    Thomas Anderson

    There is a persisten myth that schools in Japan are good. I encounter it all the time. It's widely held outside Japan by people who have never visited Japan. They imagine schools filled with serious students doing rigorous studies taught by good teachers. One day in any Japanese learning institution is more than enough to disabuse anyone of this totally risible belief.

    True, they look at some superficial data and say "Oh Japan is ranked 5th, so their education system must be good, blah blah blah".

  • 6

    yasukuni

    My knowledge of Japanese schools is based on just one school - my daughters. The classes I have watched were fantastic. If the system, and the teacher as as good as that for the coming years I would have no problem with Japanese schools.

    But, I want my daughter home on Saturdays! I don't even want homework for summer holidays.

    I think people need to realize that kids can learn about life and the world around them by being with their parents, or playing in the park.

    The crazy thing is that even with the day care it's hard to get the kids to take a holiday because the teacher will say "But tomorrow we're practicing for this or that event, so please don't be absent!"

    But a lot of parents will support the move. Probably a lot of them would be overjoyed if the kids slept overnight at the schools too. Parents seem to like the idea of just relying on the school to teach their kids everything - including manners.

    And from what I see, teachers here already work too hard. They need a break too.

    Easy for Hashimoto to give orders. I think he should be confined to his office 6 days a week too - and no more TV appearances!!

    On second thought, maybe he should just spend more time with his OWN wife and kids...

  • 2

    Apsara

    Thank goodness I don't live in Osaka. If I did, this would be the last straw, I'd move, even if it was just over the border into Kyoto or Hyogo, so I didn't have to have this ass as mayor of the city I lived in.

  • -3

    slumdog

    they look at some superficial data

    No, they actually speak to the people and have no need to generalize.

  • -1

    slumdog

    My knowledge of Japanese schools is based on just one school - my daughters. The classes I have watched were fantastic. If the system, and the teacher as as good as that for the coming years I would have no problem with Japanese schools.

    But, I want my daughter home on Saturdays! I don't even want homework for summer holidays.

    I agree. This is not a solution. It is just avoiding one.

  • 0

    Neil McDonald

    If I had a family and was living in Osaka I would recommend moving to Hyogo or Shiga. Things will only get w

  • -5

    slumdog

    They also teach (brainwash) you to never question their government or country.

    I guess you have never watched the news then. Japanese frequently protest against things and they do so in large numbers. Do you remember when there was talk of moving bases to Kyushu? Were those protests the product of rote learning? No, they were critical questioning of their government and country.

  • -3

    Thomas Anderson

    No, the Japanese have no opinions, question nothing, cannot think for themselves. Seriously, have you ever had a discussion with Japanese people. Have you even read the opinion section of a Japanese newspaper? There is plenty of questioning, reasoning, and critical thinking there for all to see.

    HAHAHA, have YOU? I can't believe that I'm reading this...

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please.

  • -2

    slumdog

    But a lot of parents will support the move. Probably a lot of them would be overjoyed if the kids slept overnight at the schools too. Parents seem to like the idea of just relying on the school to teach their kids everything - including manners. And from what I see, teachers here already work too hard. They need a break too

    Again, I agree. It is not so much the educational system in this case as the idea that schools should take over the role of parenting children. While this may have worked well 50 years ago. Times have changed and this outmoded idea must be changed. Parents should be the ones parenting their kids and should be the ones responsible if their kids do something wrong.

  • 3

    BertieWooster

    Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has announced plans to reopen Osaka’s elementary schools on Saturdays. The move is purportedly part of an attempt to combat delinquency and educational failings in the city.

    Education fails, so the solution is to give more of it.

    Hmmm.

    Makes sense.

    NOT!

    Luckily this is still at the planning stage.

  • -6

    slumdog

    Thomas,

    It seems the only thing that will satisfy you is saying that everything about Japan and the Japanese is illogical and non-critical. Well, I do not think that is true. You are free to feel however you want. However, I question why someone would supposedly want to live is such a supposed intellectual wasteland. Why do you?

  • 4

    Tim Camin

    I think we are all forgetting what the purpose of education in Japan is. As slumdog has hit on, the role of education in Japan is creating a person who can fit into society. The education bit is an extra. I can't tell how many times I've been told that work or society will do the parenting and enforce the rules of society.

    If you want education you send your kid off to juku because regardless of the title we hang on Japan, it is a class society and you pay to move up in the rankings. Status, pedigree, hierarchy. Why does one need creative thinking when everything is decided for you? Even the doctor will tell you what you need and what to do. My doctor does and is offended if I ask too many questions, or at least was until he got used to the crazy foreigner. My child had surgery, the surgeon was more than happy to pontificate on the how to's and what for's. I felt more than comfortable that he was a professional.

    Remember all children are guaranteed the right to an education, and due to lawsuits, it is impossible to remove problem children from the school or tailor education because it would be deemed to be unfair or illegal. As a result, the school system is a one size fits all system. The Japanese system does an adequate job in the basics, and the curriculum is changing to add creative thinking and reasoning. Slowly. In a society that never questions, any movement in a new direction will take time. Newer teachers are adding it to their tools. Not as fast as is we hope for, but it is happening. We decry wrote memorization, but at some level it is necessary. You need to have a base or scaffolding on which to hang on different bits of information. It is as necessary to ask why as it is to know why. One of the biggest problems with the current system is that is relies on linear teaching. There is no review or repetition in many cases. You learn to accept the data to pass the test, which is in the end in Japan, all that is necessary. Look at the plethora of tests out there. Until the uni's start to change their system, the educational system will not change.

    And yes, the elementary texts are silly, but call me old fashioned, there is still something to be said about having books. There is a warmth and a feeling to them. They allow you to measure your accomplishments and creatively doodle in the margins. Yes, there is no depth to them, but they serve a purpose, which is to educate the basics.

    I've taught in the system and I have a child in the system. I am not thrilled and I supplement a lot. Some of the kids I have met who have gone through international schooling systems do not impress me as being any better educated, with one exception, they are willing to risk asking why and to admit that they do not know. The human being is not static and can continue to learn through out life.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Luckily this is still at the planning stage.

    Did you take the time to actually READ the article?

    Starting with five schools next week, Osaka will restart Saturday classes in all of its elementary schools from fiscal 2013, Sankei Shimbun reported Saturday.

  • 6

    Dennis Bauer

    Am i missing something? Elementary school is 小学校 right? he is saying that little kids are delinquents?

  • 0

    megosaa

    if that happens, the teachers SHOULD demand extra pay.

  • 0

    GW

    TimC,

    You have a good grasp of how schools are here & while it all fine & dandy to mold the little ones, there is a bigger picture out there, the one beyond Japan, the one the Japan used to do well in but now getting more & more out of touch.

    If Japan doesnt re-invent itself in so many areas we are going to be destined to the life styles of those who live in NKorea, maybe not as bad but its headed in that direction. If Japan ever pulls a Greece which it very well cud it will decline MASSIVELY & QUICKLY, imagine a Japan that cant afford to buy much from the outside world & REALLY think how that will affect our lives here, it will be crushing.

    Of course most of use can & WILL bail once it gets bad enough............BUT I personally REALLY HATE watching Japan rot on so many levels, education being only one of MANY!

  • -1

    BertieWooster

    Yubaru-san,

    Did you take the time to actually READ the article?

    You ask.

    To which I answer, "Yes."

    This is what the article says:

    Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has announced plans to reopen Osaka’s elementary schools on Saturdays.

    I know it also says that it is to start in fiscal 2013, but it also states that it is a plan.

    Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has some pretty lulu ideas from time to time, and, you never know, it might not happen.

  • -3

    slumdog

    This is not a great idea. However, bottom line, the Japanese are not a bunch of buffoons that have no common sense or ability to think. Anyone who lives in Japan and actually reads newspapers, watches TV and speaks to actual people in the country in their own language will know they have strong opinions and at times can be extremely critical of their own government. Just because Hashimoto has a bad idea does not make the whole country a bunch of idiots. I am sad to see so many people painting all or most Japanese with the same brush of ignorance. You would not like it if it were done to you.

  • 6

    DP812

    slumdog, no one is saying that the Japanese are un-thinking buffoons without an opinion of their own -- that's a false inference you've made. Criticizing the education system -- which does have many problems, one of which IS the lack of employing critical thinking -- is not the same as saying it's a country of morons. Tone down the rhetoric. You're playing the racist card and there is absolutely no justification for it.

  • 2

    papasmurfinjapan

    And so when this doesn't work, will they make them go to school on Sunday too??

    Oh wait a minute, where I live half the kids already go to school every day of the week because of 部活... they, like their over-worked fathers, have no time with to spend with their families.

  • 1

    GW

    Slumdog,

    If you have lived here long surely you know common sense isnt so common on these isles, all too often emotion gets in the way before common sense has a chance to kick in...........

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    Bertie: Won't work unless the kid shares the same ideals as you. You cannot force good behaviour by taking away things like TV, video games, cell phones, etc. All you do by trying is ensure the rebellion Hashimoto thinks he can 'cure' by subjecting kids to more crappy education when they should have free time. Studying for a longer period of time does not change the quality of what you study, and that's where the problem is -- Hashimoto seems to think longer hours will ensure better success, when I'm quite sure it will result in bigger problems. Who's he going to blame it on then?

  • -4

    slumdog

    If you have lived here long surely you know common sense isnt so common on these isles, all too often emotion gets in the way before common sense has a chance to kick in..........

    That is human nature and true of all humans. Common sense is often not all that common, anywhere.

  • -4

    slumdog

    Japanese schools are producing kids with no critical thinking and problem solving skills.

    No? None?

    Japanese kids (and adults) completely lacked critical thinking skills and problem solving skills when I came here 18 yrs ago

    Completely? They had absolutely no critical thinking skills or problem solving skills at all? How did they ever run their country?

    Critical thinking skills and common sense are lacking here because it isn't "taught" nor tested.

    Again, it is amazing any of the Japanese can get through their day, isn't it?

    Japanese people are taught to not question or to think critically. It shows.

    Wow, I've talked to lots of them and they question and think critically about lots of things. Perhaps you might want to consider not accosting random Japanese and actually attempt relationships with them.

    DP812,

    I trust you now understand my reaction.

  • -1

    Thomas Anderson

    Does the Japanese educational system teach critical and analytical thinking skills? No and no. Do Japanese public schools make students engage in debates and help them develop their own opinions? Again, no. Saying that Japanese people are perfectly competent and blah blah blah won't magically make it so.

    slumdog, it's a fact that Japanese schools never teach those things. Japanese people don't just magically develop those skills out of thin air just because the Japanese people are supposedly magically perfect at everything without even having to learn anything. You'd have to TEACH them before they can develop and use those skills .

  • 3

    Tiger_In_The_Hermitage

    The kids need a break, let them play, enjoy and explore with their parents. They don't need another day at school.

  • 1

    titaniumdioxide

    Can they try this in Okinawa? Okinawans are the worst academic performer in Japan. I'd rather have my future children be schooled here in Japan than any place in the west. Kids here are far more disciplined than the brats in the US and UK.

  • -4

    cleo

    Gettin' more'n a bit ticked off at folk whose own critical and analytical skills run to no more than mindless bashing of anything and everything Japanese and an inability to look at the education system in their own country where the average high school reading is at grade five level (US) and nearly half of employers say school leavers' basic skills are not up to scratch (UK) telling me that my Japanese family and friends, who have been through the Japanese education system and are highly intelligent people who are stimulating to converse with, in fact have no critical thinking and problem solving skills, are unable to put two ideas together, are unable to hold their own in a debate, have no opinions of their own and no common sense.

    If that really is your impression, maybe you 1)have no Japanese family 2)have not progressed past the polite, don't contradict the opinionated stranger level of conversation with your Japanese friends or more likely acquaintances, 3)are unable to converse in Japanese and think that the person struggling to speak to you can't have any ideas because he is unable to express them in fluent English and/or 4)teach at a third-rate educational establishment and assume that everywhere else is the same and your students are typical.

  • 1

    Thomas Anderson

    Any Japanese person who has studied abroad will tell you how amazed they were by the differences in the quality of education compared to their own. I'm not necessarily comparing it to anywhere else and I'm not even a fan of most education systems in the world.

    Sounds like you've never spoken to a Japanese person who is complaining about their own public education system. You need to talk to a REAL intellectual.

  • 2

    cabadaje

    IMO, Japan doesn't really care about teaching/learning English. The only reason they teach it (and half-assed at that) is to "prove" to the rest of the world that they're not as xenophobic as everyone thinks they are. (But we know they are!)

    Nonsense. The natural mistake they make is teaching English as if it were Japanese. It has nothing to do with how they want the rest of the world to see them.

    They also teach (brainwash) you to never question their government or country.

    Then the schools are indeed failing, because I keep seeing Japanese people protesting, complaining, and questioning their government on several different topics on the news.

    slumdog, no one is saying that the Japanese are un-thinking buffoons without an opinion of their own -- that's a false inference you've made

    He's not the only one.

    slumdog, it's a fact that Japanese schools never teach those things.

    Hmm, strange, I seem to find them in plenty supply among the company freshman I teach. Being that they do indeed exist, as an actual fact that I have repeatedly observed (as opposed to a somewhat absolutist comment stating that something never occurs), and that we agree they did not manifest out of thin air, then I am forced to conclude that, somehow or another, they did indeed learn these schools in some sort of mass educational system.

    I am hearing a lot of people talking about the Japanese not having the critical thinking skills and not having the ability for independent thinking. As a business instructor, I would have to say this is patently incorrect. However, I will also add that the aggressive style of criticism and thought that is so prevalent in most many English speaking countries is not the same as the aggressiveness or independent thought that can be found in the Japanese culture. To try and pass judgement on these qualities based on how one's own (foreign) culture believes these qualities should be expressed is ethnocentrism at its finest.

  • 0

    Thomas Anderson

    Look, it's no secret that the Japanese public education system is just a leftover from the old military system. That's why so many of the school activities in Japan have a militaristic characteristic/bent to it. In pre-WW2 days the Japanese education was used by the military to instill a sense of militarism and nationalism into the general population, to revere the emperor and to never question anything. And unfortunately that has not changed much. The Japanese education system is badly in need of a reform.

  • 2

    Lowly

    cleo-

    don't know who you are talking to. I see ppl making criticism where criticism is due (an old clunky backward educational system), mostly, not saying that jpns are idiots who can't tie there shoes, nor making that criticism by holding up their own country as "perfect".

    slumdog-

    you took quotes out of context. I said "60-70%" you called me on the arbitrary number, and I tried to explain where the number came from. Is it only 40 or 50 that should be changed? Or 80? Depends on how many ideas you have and the likelihood of their success. I stated repeatedly that there is a lot about the jpns ways of thinking and problem solving I like, use, and find useful, including even the one-club only training system. However, as far as critical creative thinking for getting ideas out, putting your ideas together in written sentences and doing stuff, they are not what I would call snappy. That is because they are not given enough chances to think up things for themselves and try it. (This is all "in school" mind you). SO much is top-down and text based, and teacher-bossed. The rate of change is slow, hard to effect change because everyone is so worried what somebody will say if they throw an idea out, so, again, top down from the BOE or monbusho. I admitted in that system there are other things that are successfully done. But it is a system that needs changing. Hshimoto's proposal that the kids spend MORE time at school w/o radically changing how school is "done" will be if anything counter productive.

    I could go on about my home country's system, but the jt mod squad are too sharp cookies to go off context here, so please can it on telling me I am putting dn jpns system and showing my own country's system to be better. Not true. I am making criticism from w/in the jpns system. A BIG DIFFERENCE.

  • 4

    tmarie

    This will help ensure the children are educated. So many people putting down the Japanese education system while the ones in their home countries are much worse.

    Would you care to back that statement up with something, say, an example?

    Cleo, you can get upset about it all you want but many of us on here are working day in and day out in the education system. Certainly not ALL schools, teachers and programs are poor but when you have the head of the mumbusho stating that the uni system here is a mess, well.... I don't think we're making it up. I also don't think anyone on here is saying EVERYONE in Japan is a moron with no common sense. It has to be said though that education here doesn't do much for critical thinking and problem solving.

    I'm also going to use the "how long have your kids been out of the system here?" card. Yutrokyoiku is a mess and needs to be done away with. Your kids didn't go through the system that is being used here. There is a HUGE difference between the kids who are 18 now and those who are 28 because of the change in system. MY husband is shocked at the stories I tell him and the homework assignments he sees me mark. The system here is a mess. If you'd like to argue you that and bury your head in the sand, by all means but that doesn't mean you're correct. And I'm looking at all your options here and I fit into none of those (though I admit to teaching at a 3rd rate place as well as a first rate) so.... Perhaps it is YOU who is a little out of touch as to what is going on in the education system right now?

  • 4

    willynilly

    or 4)teach at a third-rate educational establishment

    a thrid-rate place. Wow! You need to come down from your white horse, Ms.

  • -1

    Cos

    Posters really seem to know only high society Japanese people... and well similarly wealthy people in Osaka all put their kids in private schools. The others work either on Saturdays or Sundays, because in Japan the average full time worker has one day of regular week-end, not 2. Shops are opened 7 days, offices 6 days. They may take flex days on Monday to Friday. In Osaka-city, nearly all parents (both, or the single parrent) work full-time. Grand-parents may help if they are alive, in good health, living nearby, not in holidays, still talking to their kids... So since primary schools have closed on Saturdays,many families have had to pay baby-sitters, jukus. When families can't afford, they let children (aged 7 to 13) alone in their mansions or playing in the streets of Osaka (many rivers, highways, non-protected railways, pure fun). I don't think these kids are delinquents, but they do kids pranks which bother because neighbors no longer know each other. They don't know where to bring back the kids that break a bonsai with a ball, they call the cops for nothings. And well, for parents, the worry is they can get accidents and they are preys for all the weirdos. Schools playgrounds are nicer than any park around.

    Was anyone actually asked about this? Say, parents, teachers, schools, BOE, city of Osaka? Nope.

    That has been discussed during the last 2 decades. That you are not aware is normal, you're neither a parent, a teacher, a member of BOE, a member of anything in Osaka, not even a resident. There is no unanimity in the sense that a part of families can take their kids on Saturdays... but they all recognize that many can't, so opening the schools would help. The questions are how to do it. Compulsory or not... They don't deal well with flexibility.

    Studying for a longer period of time does not change the quality of what you study, and that's where the problem is

    That's the problem of the teachers. If there are more teachers and staff hired for the extra day, maybe they can split some classes, do all the homework in the school, get more leisure activities.

    when I'm quite sure it will result in bigger problems.

    I don't see how you can get bigger problems that kids let alone. They had Saturday school before. They tried to cut and that didn't do any good. I went to school 6 days a week when I was a kid, and we really liked it. When they made studies about it, they found kids were feeling the best going to school everyday, short hours of course, but the most regular routine, sleep, meals, study, play. The 2 day week-end is to fit adults' favorite schedule. So when adults don't have 2 days anyway... If parents can get home early a few times in the week, it's good too.

    Many First World countries are constantly trying to improve their systems, without even a thought of adding an extra day.

    They are adding extra days in France. Same reason as Osaka. in 21st century, most parents work, have commuting time, and live quite isolated from extended families, so schools have to be opened longer hours than before. Otherwise kids are in the streets and alone in small flats with electronic games. The challenge will be for schools to keep kids like 50 hours a week without too many hours of formal class.

    Even in Finland,

    The whole Finland is about the size of Osaka, and it's all countryside and small towns. What they do works for them. Many teachers from everywhere went to study their system and they didn't find so much that could be exported. Also there are myths about school in Finland. Like they'd have a shorter day. Just ask examples. For primary school, they have just like in Japan. 4 hours of classes, one hour of lunch and recess, one hour maximum of homework. So what is special with Finland ? is it the school or the society around it ?

  • 1

    tmarie

    Cos, there are more than a few posters on here vase in or around Osaka so you're comments about not being in Osaka is ignorant. And no, it hasn't been discussed for decades. It was two times a month, discussed and done away with. There has always been rumblings about it coming back but it was not taken seriously.

    And no, not all well off families in Osaka send their kids to private schools - and many private schools aren't any better than public schools. I'd also question you six day work week and the both parents working comments. No one I know, besides teachers that is, usually works six days a week. Most companies are not open for all staff over the weekends. Shops and service industries of course are different. Many moms with ele aged kids are not working.

    I will agree that kids are all over playing and being kids and have little supervision. That is a parenting issue and I'd like Hashi to address THAT issue as something needs to be fine about the lack of parenting done here. He won't however go after them. Easier to blame the teachers for parents short comings and use them as the scapegoat. It's disgusting and won't help the crime rate nor the education these kids receive. If quality is bad, adding more days wont improve anything. In fact, it'll probably just make it worse.

  • 3

    gonemad

    Could anyone please enlighten me as to what kind of delinquency the article is talking about and how Saturday classes in elementary school can help to reduce them? It doesn't seem to make any sense at all, but then, I'm not from Osaka...

  • 4

    DP812

    I will agree that kids are all over playing and being kids and have little supervision. That is a parenting issue and I'd like Hashi to address THAT issue as something needs to be fine about the lack of parenting done here. He won't however go after them. Easier to blame the teachers for parents short comings and use them as the scapegoat.

    Can you say you're surprised? Hitlermoto has openly stated that if his wife isn't around, he can't stay with his children for more than thirty minutes!

  • 2

    globalwatcher

    I read all posts here . Impressed.

    Gambare parents in Japan! Your kids cannot voice their opinions. You are the only ones who can stand up for them you love.

  • -2

    nigelboy

    Does the Japanese educational system teach critical and analytical thinking skills?

    As slumdog has already alluded to, Japan ranks 5th among OECD nations based on PISA testing which focuses on critical thinking skills/problem solving skills. So unless you want to give Japanese kids credit for inherently having these traits, then one must conclude that the school system in Japan does teach this.

  • 3

    globalwatcher

    niegelboy,Japanese kids fail to grasp concepts in critical thinking for their own. .

  • 1

    nigelboy

    niegelboy,Japanese kids fail to grasp concepts in critical thinking for their own

    And this is based on what globalwatcher? Another anecdotal evidence that I see often used on this forum and when some other poster agrees with it, it automatically becomes a "fact"?

    PISA testing methods aren't pefect by any means but it certainly does focus on the areas that Japanese kids allegedly lack in.

  • -2

    cabadaje

    @Thomas Anderson

    Look, it's no secret that the Japanese public education system is just a leftover from the old military system.

    How so? What about the educational system is exclusively military in origin and use?

    @DP812

    Can you say you're surprised? Hitlermoto has openly stated that if his wife isn't around, he can't stay with his children for more than thirty minutes!

    C'mon, man! Here we are talking about Reason and Critical Thinking and you pull Godwin's Law?

    @globalwatcher

    niegelboy,Japanese kids fail to grasp concepts in critical thinking for their own. .

    Well...true, for many. Then again, the same applies to pretty much every country that teaches critical thinking.

    Few countries teach Critical Thinking and Skepticism as a formal courses, particularly at the high school level. Even countries like the US and Britain tend to take disproportional pride at the objectivism they teach in their science courses, mistaking it for critical thinking (a common enough error).

  • 2

    Yubaru

    That's the problem of the teachers. If there are more teachers and staff hired for the extra day, maybe they can split some classes, do all the homework in the school, get more leisure activities.

    No what will happen is they will just increase the classroom hours per week for the current 29, to 34, and the same teachers will be teaching with no extra help. It will go back to the old days.

  • 3

    ashsensei

    "I’d like our teachers to try their best. To support them, we plan to spare no expense.”

    Hope that means a marked increase in salary and pay for upgrading teacher's education on a regular basis. Another Quantity over Quality solution... sigh.

  • -6

    cleo

    I see ppl making criticism where criticism is due (an old clunky backward educational system), mostly, not saying that jpns are idiots who can't tie there shoes, nor making that criticism by holding up their own country as "perfect".

    You don't read all the gleeful Japanese people are all unable to think/don't have any opinions because of the education system posts or the implied Japan isn't like home so it must be bad posts?

    I also don't think anyone on here is saying EVERYONE in Japan is a moron with no common sense. It has to be said though that education here doesn't do much for critical thinking and problem solving.

    No, just the ones who went through the education system.....like presumably your hubby? Did his education deprive him of critical thinking and problem solving skills? Or is he one more exception? You're happy with JT branding him intellectually maimed?

    Yes, Japanese school education is not perfect, there are lots of places where improvements could and should be made. But the same could be said of the education system in any country, some much more dire than Japan's.

    a thrid-rate place. Wow! You need to come down from your white horse, Ms.

    That's third-rate, and high horse. On the subject of how well do your country's schools teach, I rest my case. :-)

  • -1

    chooch

    Personally, I won't allow my kid to go to school on Saturday. What can they do? Nothing.

    And I refuse to get worked up about this kind of thing. This is their problem, not mine. It's been made plain that I'M not included. So, Japanese kids whose parents won't protest against these shenanigans: I'm sorry for you.

    Once my time here is done, it will mean even less to me than it does now.

  • -3

    nigelboy

    Does the Japanese public education system include critical/analytical/debating skills in their curriculums? No, no and NO! So please stop all this BS that Japanese people are perfectly able to think critically or able to debate properly or whatever, when they have not even been TAUGHT! It's physically impossible to do something that you have not even learned. It's like saying Japanese students can magically speak English without even having been taught English.

    Neither does other Western nations hence the very low scores in 2009 OECD PISA test scores which focus on critical/analytical and problem solving skills. NEXT!!

  • 1

    Ivan Coughanoffalot

    I once had a class of 17 year olds unable to find Africa on a map of Africa. Whatever they're doing in school isn't working.

  • 3

    chooch

    Whatever they're doing in school isn't working.

    Well, just do it more then. It just has to work.

  • 0

    Vast Right-Wing Conspirator

    The obvious problem is not "what" is being taught, but also how and where.

    Most schools here are little more than concrete boxes. No central heat or AC, pathetic libraries, patches of dirt for sports grounds, and very little in the way of technology. Computer rooms? not too common. Support for second language learners? Non-existent.

    Teachers are usually not educated in teaching methodology or pedagogy, and the ones that are generally find themselves ostracized by their seniors in the staff room.

    Teachers are also overloaded with miscellanous duties and responsibilties that keep them from actually teaching. I saw very little in the way of lesson planning or curriculum development at either the elementary of JHS level. They didn't have time because they had to also be surrogate parents for their students.

  • 1

    Lowly

    Cleo sorry, you're overreacting, and feeding whatever trollishness is out there. As long as you don't include me in that group, I will leave it at fair enough, tho.

    Also, your argument about "despite there being other problems in school systems back home" is to me irrelevant. I live and work here and have done so for nearly two decades. This is something I think about, deal with frustratingly every day of my life and is therefore very worth criticizing. If anything, I am the problem by perpetuating it in the school systems I work at. But that is my choice by being there. So I think it important to talk about these problems and the politicians like Hashimoto who affect us, and the students. Others on here are parents w/ kids in the system, they also have real reasons to have strong feelings sometimes. Put another way, bringing up the problems means we give a damn, tho I shouldn't say that because I can't really vouch for anyone besides myself. Like I said many times, I could go on about problems back home if I wanted, but this is where I am, and what the article is about...

  • 3

    tmarie

    Cleo, I and others have said there is no such thing as a perfect system and have also said that "back home" improvements can be made.

    Indeed, my husband is an exception. Top schools and married to a foreigner. You don't get that from your average Taro here. If you did, there would be a lot more immigration and a lot less hassle for us. You made comment about third rate schools. Just how many schools in Japan do you think aren't third rate? Open your eyes - or ignore it and think that you experience is the same as everyone's.

    I once had a class of 17 year olds unable to find Africa on a map of Africa. Whatever they're doing in school isn't working.

    I taught a group of first year students today and out of two classes, TWO knew where Greece and Egypt. One said she hadn't studied geography since ele schools - and everyone who heard her agreed. Yep, wonderful system here.

  • 5

    willynilly

    That's third-rate, and high horse. On the subject of how well do your country's schools teach, I rest my case. :-)

    Cleo@ Thanks for the spell check. I stick with my comment about "white horse" but I guess you have given your white horse a name other than "Shirayuki" and I doubt you don a mustache (oops! there goes my third-rate education again: moustache)--perhaps your first-rate education and a google will take you beyond English idioms and let you see the white horse I claim you sit on.BTW, if you're going to begin taking swipes because of a typo, then yes, come down off your "high horse" too. I take it that the italicized "your" before country's schools in your comment also takes a swipe at my education. I've given you a thumbs down on that and I refuse to get my undies bunched because you take swipes at my country's educational system. Hope no one pisses in your Wheaties tomorrow.

    • Moderator

      Readers, please keep the discussion civil.

  • 2

    tmarie

    Cleo is making the mistake of assuming some on here haven't taught "home"...

  • 2

    Yubaru

    So, Japanese kids whose parents won't protest against these shenanigans: I'm sorry for you.

    You have to be literally living on another planet to think that Japanese parents are going to protest against this. Odds are 95% to 98% are jumping up and down for joy.

  • 3

    tmarie

    Indeed, more freedom for them and blame the teachers when their kids don't perform.

  • 2

    komuso killa

    I'm not even remotely surprised. Typical thinking for the land of the rising sun. School is stifling and completely dominates the youth's lives already as is. You must Gaman! I truly feel bad for those kids...Ganbatte kudasai!

  • 0

    DudeDeuce

    Article should read "Osaka City" not "Osaka". He is the mayor not the governor of the entire prefecture and Osaka Prefecture is a much wider area with more schools than the city does. Osaka prefecture schools will resume with their usual schedule next year.

  • 2

    tmarie

    Dude, I fully expect his sidekick, aka the Osaka governor, to follow suit. Thick as thieves those two are.

  • 2

    Awatemono

    Having been in several chugakku schools, the message I get from JETs, ALTs etc is that much of Japanese education is "colouring in maps". The national honour does not allow non-Japanese teachers to run the English program so much of it is done by teachers who struggle in it themselves. The fact that most adults can't offer a basic conversation in English after 6 years of study is witness to that.

  • -2

    Yubaru

    Having been in several chugakku schools, the message I get from JETs, ALTs etc is that much of Japanese education is "colouring in maps". The national honour does not allow non-Japanese teachers to run the English program so much of it is done by teachers who struggle in it themselves. The fact that most adults can't offer a basic conversation in English after 6 years of study is witness to that.

    And what does this have to do with extending the school week until Saturday?

  • 1

    tmarie

    Perhaps that teachers aren't qualified and knowledgable to be teaching and that extending the school week is useless and a waste if time?

  • -5

    nigelboy

    Having been in several chugakku schools, the message I get from JETs, ALTs etc is that much of Japanese education is "colouring in maps". The national honour does not allow non-Japanese teachers to run the English program so much of it is done by teachers who struggle in it themselves. The fact that most adults can't offer a basic conversation in English after 6 years of study is witness to that.

    Weird. I know several teachers who say JET's and ALTS that they had were "unreliable", "mostly illiterate to the language of the host nation", and or had inappropriate relationship with students. Hell. Most can't even offer a basic conversation in Japanese after living there. I guess the feeling is "mutual".

  • 2

    tmarie

    Nigel, ALTs aren't hired based on their Japanese levels. I have issues with JETs and ALTs but you can't fault them for their Japanese when they aren't hired based on that. Many English teachers here can't speak English. Something they are supposed to have when they get the job. See where the problem lies?

  • 2

    LH10

    that's bad! more stress for the kids (-___- #)

  • -3

    nigelboy

    Nigel, ALTs aren't hired based on their Japanese levels. I have issues with JETs and ALTs but you can't fault them for their Japanese when they aren't hired based on that. Many English teachers here can't speak English. Something they are supposed to have when they get the job. See where the problem lies?

    I was comparing "most adults" versus JETs and ALTs. As for English teachers, I can't fault for their shortcomings simply because they are not exposed to the language. In that aspect, I completely agree with you that English teachers are not qualified here in Japan. Therefore, IMO, they should just remove the curriculum and send these JET's and ALTs back home. As for the other curriculum, I beg to differ simply because despite the implementation of the Yutori education, Japan still ranked 5th among OECD in PISA tests where they measure the students critical thinking ability and problem solving skills.

  • 0

    maitai62

    I think Saturdays would be better spent doing extracurricular activities (arts and athletics) or family time. Parents can send their kids to enrichment and/or remedial academics on Saturdays at their discretion. I think more emphasis should be placed on educating well-rounded, mentally and physically healthy individuals. It may even help decrease the high suicide rate among Japanese students. Just my $.02

  • 2

    Faderkinta

    There are a lot of things I like about the Japanese Elementary school system. A lot have to do with teachers who put down their time miss out on their own family engagement especially their own kids to work with the kids of their schools. Do I think it is fair becaues some kids are off how was it stated, "

    When families can't afford, they let children (aged 7 to 13) alone in their mansions or playing in the streets of Osaka (many rivers, highways, non-protected railways, pure fun). "

    I have been teaching in Osaka for 15 years in Elementary schools, Jr. High Schools, High Schools and Jr. Colleges, and I have many dedicated teachers on my watch. Why do they have to screw up their family life because you can't figure out how to run yours on the weekend? How is that fair. Kids aren't learning here because ever few years their is some new fangled fad in Education. In which the teachers are force to use but it is half explained and then badly excuted. The board of Education doesn't want to train in reality, they take Princess schools and then say why can't you do like that? Instead of taking on hard to deal with low grade schools and push to turn them into functioning schools. The Principal is only there for a short time so the school are mainly rudderless with no one steering the ship.

    Instead of pushing extra time on kids, how about looking at schools that work forming a training task force and have these people observe and then help struggling teachers to grow. Teaching have a high burn out rate, and for whatever anyone thinks getting your teaching certificate in Osaka is very difficult. For all of you are ready to burn teachers at the steak, they do a hard job that many and most people would not. They dealing with everybody precious "who can't do anything wrong". If it takes a village to raise a kid in Japan at least teachers are the superheroes.

  • -1

    unequivocallyobservingjapan

    Frankly I was shocked back in the day when the j-public school system did away with Saturdays, knowing the japanese. Hmm, next thing ya know, they'll do away with spring vacation, summer vacation and Christmas vacation. Oops, it's already started. We are looking at a virtual year-round school year. It's happening and it's coming sooner than you think.

  • -4

    ka_chan

    Japan has traditionally had school on Saturday so I think it's fine. Since Saturday was taken out of the school week, Japan's international ranking on educational testing has gone down. Since Japanese teachers spend more time in education but less time with students, this may fix that imbalance.

  • 1

    FightingViking

    Can't help but wonder "who taught the teachers"... ?

  • -2

    CrisGerSan

    Thank you Faderkinta, of all the myriad comments here, yours were informed by your direct experience and you give solid suggestions and clearly ...and most importantly, you care about the children and their education. I support your ideas and suggestions. It is not easy to direct education with so many conflicting approaches...in many ways the traditions of Japanese schools are very superior to much of the Western nations, esp the US where education is become overly permissive and hugely degraded in quality and respect for teachers and vastly over permissive of students. Japan has a lot to teach the rest of the world and I very much respect the hard working teachers. I am sorry to see such an emphasis on English speaking, Japan would be better to focus on teaching the classics of Japanese literature and values, the English speaking cultures have nothing to offer these days. thanks for some good sharing here and i wish the best for this new trial system.

  • -1

    wackness

    This is the type of crap that makes Hashimoto popular with his fan club. It has nothing to do with what is better for students or teachers or education or schools...it's simply for the old-school, easily impressionable voter to think to them self "Yeah, this guy's right-on. He's a leader, doing whats tough, but needed for Japan. We need to work harder, and this guy knows that. Young kids are lazy, they should be more like I was when I was young....blah blah blah".

    This has nothing to do with education, and everything to do with winning votes. Guy is a scumbag.

  • 0

    Simon Phillips

    Its official Saturday classes will start from April in my neck of the woods here in Osaka. It has destroyed my Saturday English school schedule, and I am clinging on to what is left of a mad excuse of my Saturday classes :(

    The shock is that I have spoken to a handful of parents and all of them seem to be happy that their kids are going back, but it is all over the place.... no one seems to know if it will be a split pattern (one Saturday in and the next off) or how long the days will be learning.

    To me this is so unorganized that I am pulling my hair to understand the scheduling but all of the parents are happy to see their kids off to school on the Saturdays.

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