Comparative Study of Ability and Examinations in Post-Manufacturing Societies, from Interview Surveys in the United Kingdom and Japan

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 3:50 PM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Shinichi AIZAWA , Chukyo University, Toyota, Japan
In the 2000s, both British and Japanese societies were faced with new social changes caused by post-manufacturing industrialization. Education policymakers are changing and updating national examinations to measure the new skills needed in these societies.

Our interview survey was taken by various persons, including statesmen, local government officers, company managers, school leaders, and local educational authorities in both the United Kingdom and Japan, over three years. From the results of this survey, we identified new relationships between examinations and abilities in these post-manufacturing societies. These new relationship have emerged in part as a way of trying to cope with social polarization and construct new school systems that sustain excellence and equality in society. In the present era, social polarization leads to a situation where that some people with high talents are educated to have very high levels of skill related to some professional role; in contrast, others learn attitudes towards work rather than advanced skills because they do not require such skills. Our survey supports the presence of this tendency in both societies; however, we find some differences between the societies as well. For example, Japanese voices often place importance on communication skills and on proficiency in English or other languages. In contrast, British voices often emphasize more basic numeracy and literacy or their own (English) language rather than foreign languages. These differences may reflect the image of the skills needed to succeed in the workplace in each society.