Educational Expansion from the 1990s Under Deregulation and Rising Inequality in Japan

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:18
Oral Presentation
Shinichi AIZAWA, Chukyo University, Japan
This paper show, in moving toward universal participation in higher education from the 1990s, Japan has established educational practices and customs that differ greatly from those of developed Western countries. Higher education was not universalized because the Japanese government regulated the new construction of colleges between the late 1970s and the 1980s. This era of government-regulated tertiary education coincided with in the Japanese economy’s peak on the world stage. Social scientists around the world focused on Japanese school education because they thought that education was the most important factor in economic success; they discovered many problems with the schools and education, resulting from the severe competition for entrance examinations. These discoveries formed the typical image of Japanese education as an examination hell.

This substantial demographic shift transformed Japanese school education from examination hell to the next stage: the schooled society (Illich, 1971). Following this deregulation and loosening competition, the Japanese enrollment rate for tertiary education expanded dramatically from 30% to over 50% between 1990 and 2010. In other words, Japan entered the universal stage in higher education, in Trow’s terms. In contemporary times, issues afflicting Japanese youth in relation to higher education seem to have shifted from the transition problem to other problems, such as the cost of higher education and students having to balance study with temporary jobs.