Jukus are privately run cram schools, operated after after regular school classes. Their was historic tradition, stressing discipline, but the modern jukus primarily relate to the country's public school system. Many parents can not aford private school tuition, but the public schools are very good and juku tuition afordable to many parents. They are tutoring schools geared to help primary and secondary students perform better in their regular daytime schoolwork and to offer cram courses in preparation for university entry examinations. Jukus range from individual home-based tutorials to country-wide chains of schools and are staffed largely by retired teachers, moonlighting teachers, and university students. Though most juku emphasize academic subjects important in studies and examinations, some juku offer instruction also in nonacademic arts and sports. Many juku stress strict discipline.
The term for these schools in Japamese are Jukus. Thevformal term is Gakushū juku (学習塾), but they are mormally just called jukus. We also see 'Jobiko' used. These seem to be the big cram schools specializing in entrance exams.
Their was a historic tradition, stressing discipline, but the modern jukus primarily relate to the country's public school system. Jukus appeared in the 17th century. In the Tokugawa period (1603-1867) the term juku referred to small schools teaching martial arts, philosophy, or some other select subject. During the Meiji period (1868-1912) the term came to distinguish the tutorial school from other types of public or private schools. The majority of modern-type juku, commonly thought of as 'cram' schools," date from after the mid-1960s, accompanying Japan's phenomenal economic growth. According to a Japanese Fair Trade Commission report of 1986, about a quarter of all Japanese primary pupils and about half of all junior high school students attended juku.
The jukus are normally located near subway stations. This is to make it easy for the children to get to them after regular classess. A major juku chian has jukus near large numbers of the subway stations. [Pettersen] Some of the largr juku chains have branches in the United States and other countries to assist Japanese children living abroad keep up with their compatriots in Japan.
Japanese schools do not have the extensive after-school activity programs and sports common at American schools. One reason for this is that so many of the children attens jukus.
There are different jukus for the different school levels, including primary, hunior high school and senor high school. each are aimed at improving the child'd performance for the next accademic level and to gain admitnce in the best schools. And the teachers are selected for these different types. The best teachers are asigned to students preparing for college entrance tests. Less inexperienced or less-impressive teachers are assigned to the junior high students studyingbto get into the best high schools or the 'ronin'. Ronin is a now archaic word meaning “Samurai without the support of a patron or Shogun”. In modern school terms it is high chool graduates who did not do well in their university entrance examinations. Many ronin will attend juku/jobiko classes for 2-3 years after high school graduation before finally passing the entrance examination or finallyn giving up. [Pettersen]
Jukus are privately run schools cram schools, operated after after regular school classes. Many parents can not aford private school tuition, but the public schools are very good and juku tuition afordable to many parents, but not cheap by any means. They are tutoring schools geared to help primary and secondary students. There are two purpose
for these schools. One is tomassist primary and secondary students with their school work and perform better with their regular daytime schoolwork. Second is to help students preparation for university entry examinations. This is why they are called cram schools.
Jukus range from individual home-based tutorials to large country-wide chains.
The jukus are staffed largely by retired teachers, moonlighting teachers, and university students. Though most juku emphasize academic subjects important in studies and examinations, some juku offer instruction also in nonacademic arts and sports. Many juku stress strict discipline.
We do not think that jukus were very common before World War II. They seem to have expanded in the post-War era, perhaps because family size declines and incomes rose by the 1960s. Juku attendance expanded significantly (1970s), but seens to have leved off (mid-1980s) Participation rates increases as the children rise in the accademic grade level. Estimates vary, but some 30 percent of Tokyo students are believe tom attend jukus. The portion is less in other cities and towns and in rural areas. There are believed to be some 50,000 of these juku schools operating in japan (2010s). The Ministry of Education is concerned about this phenomenon. The Ministry issued directives to the state schools designed to reduce the need for these schools. The directives had little real effect as parents wanted to give their children anedge abs many children apparently wan to have an edge themselves.
The juku curriculum is not an an expansion of the standard state curiculum. It is a seemingly endless reteaching of that curriculum backed by repitive drills of what students have already been presented to the children in their regular schools. [Pettersen]
There seem to be two major appraoches. Some jukus may have facilities for both. One source reports small soundproof cubicles. Each has a young teacher helping high school student cram for college entrance exams. [Pettersen] The other approach is to have fast paced lectures by experiencd teachers. Some of these lectures may be to groups as large as 500 students. One author describes the students' energetic commitment to learning. "During Akiyama's rapid-paced instruction, students hang on his every word, but never ask questions. Some in the back use opera glasses to get a clear view of the chalkboard. In an effort to please backbenchers, Akiyama has learned to write words 10 to 12 inches high. Before erasing a full board, he pauses and briefly steps aside so that students, in surreal parody of themselves, jump up to photograph the contents before his wisdom becomes chalkdust."
[Pettersen] The jukus have been changing in recent years. Traditional methos are still used, but new appraoches, esprcially individual tutoring has become more important. This shift is in part the resukt of Japan's aging population and declining birthrate. There are fewer students every year which of course adversely affects the schools.
We are not positive, but believe that most jukus through the 1970s continues to be single gender schools. We begin to see more coed jukus in the 1980s.
Thre are things about Japan that mistify Westerners, especially Americans. I can recall walking around Tokyo and finding things like stopmlights at alleys and no one, absolutely no one crossing against a rd light--even at the allies. Then thee was a three story bowling alley. But the jukus may be one of the hardest to understand, nit only their existence, but the level of commitment on th part of the students. One student describes the New Year celebratiin at her juku. This amounted to studing all night not only to New Year, but to the sunrise the nextday. The students sttuggled not only to study, but to stay awake and watch the sunrise together. One former juku student writes, "As for special events, both KUMON and the cram school I attended during junior high school had a 'New Year’s Eve All-Night Studying Event' (年越し徹夜勉強会/toshikoshi-testuya-benkyoukai). The teachers encouraged us not to fall asleep and to keep studying until morning. There were even a few games to help stimulate and relax students as well. It was a lot of fun to stay up late with my friends, but everyone reaches a wall and you would get sleepy at some point and find it nearly impossible to keep studying. Granted, it wasn’t an effective way to study at all, but it did teach us some discipline. I know you’re probably sarcastically thinking 'Right on! That sounds like a fantastic way to spend New Years Eve!' However, after saying that, studying all night together actually made us feel as though we achieved something great and it was a real confidence booster. The New Year’s sunrise, known as 初日の出 (hatsuhinode) was quite memorable, too. Everyone made the same New Years resolution: study hard to achieve good marks on the entrance exam." [Tofugu]
When readung about the jukus, one should have in the back of their mind that after finishing at the jukus and ariving home, the children still faced hime work assignments from their regular day schools.
There are no special uniforms worn at juku. The children wear their school uniforms or regular clothes.
We have noted images from the jukus that showed very severe disciplin, even corporal punishment. We believe this has moderate in recent years, but we got the impression that these were schools parents sent the children to these schools and that the children did not like them. Thisdoes not seem to be the case. Of course some children do not like them, but many children not only like them, butb have aasked their parents to snd them to specific jukus. This is often because their friends are there, but also they do not want their friends to get ahead of them in school. [Tofugu] And many of the children become very committed tomtheir juku teachrs, oftn more so than the teachers in their regular schools. A former student writes, "Now, you may think I’m a bit of an oddball because I actually liked juku (cram school), but I’m not the only one. I interviewed some people who attended cram schools when they were younger and I found that every single one of these girls really enjoyed going, at least in retrospect." [Tofugu]
Univerity entrance exams are very important in Japan, even more imprtant than in America. There are two exams. The first university entrance test students must take is the kyotsu ichiju. A score in the top 600–700 range (out of a possible 700) gives a student the right to take the second and more advanced nitji test. A good score here gives a student the opportunity to enter prestigious universities like the University of Tokyo, Waseda, or Keio. Japan has some 475 colleges and universities. But only a handful seen as first-rate by major employers. Here Japanese employers seem more concerned about what school the student attended than the grades earned. [Pettersen]
Pettersen, Larry. "Japan's 'Cram Schools'” The Challenge of Higher Standards Educational Leadership--EL (February 1993) Volume 50. Number 5, pp. 56-58.
Tofugu. "Let’s talk about Japanese cram school".
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