Japan is an exciting place to study as well as live. The Japanese educational system is famous for providing quality basic education and achieving one of the world’s highest literacy rates (99+%). Whether you are looking to study language, attend college or find a school for your child, Japan has multiple options to look into. Global Daigaku lists schools in each of the various education avenues, including college, language study, high schools and more.
Attending a language school in the country of the language you are studying is the best way to learn a second language. Some schools are full-time and have their own campuses, while others are small night schools and tutoring centers. There are some variations in curriculum, but for the most part, success at these schools depends on the motivation and effort of the student.
For students who want to learn basic “survival” Japanese, attending a language school can give you an edge over others who teach themselves. However, language schools can be expensive and may therefore be more suitable for people who are trying to obtain Japanese fluency. To achieve Ikkyu, the highest level of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test), requires a year or more of study in a full-time language program. Some schools require 60 hours a week of in-class time alone. The time commitment and expense may make it unpractical for people to enroll in these programs unless they need Japanese fluency for work or daily life.Global Daigaku features information on selecting a method of study and a list of recommended language schools. You can also check the Japanese Language School Database for an extensive list of schools, searchable by name or area.
The system of higher education in Japan, not unlike many Western nations, includes universities, colleges, junior colleges, vocational schools, and technical schools. They range from large to small, affordable to expensive, and effortless to challenging. The Japan Student Services Organization has lots of information about studying in Japan and the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students. If a Japanese-style university curriculum is not to your taste, there is also a wealth of foreign universities in Japan that offer courses.
For eligible students, there are some programs that can help financially. The Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship Program offers seven types of different scholarships with varying requirements. Visit the site to determine what you are qualified for and submit applications to help offset the costs of studying in Japan. For a master site with links to many universities in Japan, visit All Universities Around the World.
Acceptance to a Japanese university can be complicated. Aside from some basic guidelines, applicants must be over 18 and have 12 years of prior education (or possess an International Baccalaureate Certificate) to enroll. Depending on the school, foreign students are required to take language proficiency examinations and possibly Uniformed Tests in Science and the Humanities. StudyJapan.com outlines the qualifications required for multiple institutions and the various levels of study.
Foreign schools may prove to be less complicated. Instead of language proficiency tests and interviews, applicants are approved based on their academic standing in high school, standardized test scores, and an essay about why they wish to study abroad. Students are able to take classes in English, and there is the added benefit that more of the courses and credits will transfer in the event that you decide to study somewhere else.
One foreign university is Temple University, Japan Campus in Minato-ku, Tokyo, an abroad branch of Temple’s main campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. About 60% of the student body is Japanese, with the rest of the students being from the US and other countries. Temple also offers its Academic English Program (AEP), which is designed to help students score 500-525 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (the minimum requirement for entrance to Temple University and most other American universities). Temple sticks out as the only foreign school that you can graduate from in Japan.
Kindergarten – High School
Kindergarten through high school is a very important developmental time for children. Japan offers many different types and styles of education - the hardest part is making a decision about where to send your child. In Japan, you have the option of sending your child to a public school (where most elementary school education takes place), private school, or international school.
Below is the breakdown of ages for each level of education:
Kindergarten – age 3 and up
Elementary school – age 6 and up, grades 1 through 6
Junior high school – age 12 and up, grade 7 through 9
Senior high school – age 15 and up, grades 10 through 12
Private schools and international schools will require tuition and other fees. To enroll your child in a Japanese private school, you will need to apply directly to the school that you choose. For information on this, contact the Association of Private Junior and Senior High Schools in Tokyo at (03) 3263-0541.
One of the hardest things that expatriate parents struggle with is whether or not to send their child to an international school. They are more expensive than regular schools, but offer an international curriculum and diverse student body. In some cases, a company will cover tuition for expatriate students to study at an international school. Admissions requirements vary from school to school, but are generally expensive. The Embassy of the United States Japan provides a list of English-speaking schools throughout Japan.