Declining Birth Rate and Changes in High School Opportunities in Japan
The number of high school students in Japan has been decreasing over the past 25 years; the highest number was recorded in 1992; it then declined sharply to about two-thirds in 2016. Despite the decline in student enrollments, public and private balance in terms of ratios remains unchanged. The reason for this is that the public-private high school cooperation council in most prefectures sets the permitted allocation of students in each sector. However, a change in the functions of the council is indicated in the coming years. Regarding the variety of programs, two changes can be pointed out. One is the decline in the number of public schools that offer vocational programs, especially in prefectures where the drop in student numbers is severe. The other is that the education contents that each school offers are diversified reflecting high school policy. We will discuss the consequences of these changes to the high school structure.