In local news:

Parents pay 3 times more for private school education: survey (AP Jan 27, 2010)

Parents spend three times more on educating their child at a private school than at a public school during the 15-year period from kindergarten to high school, an education ministry survey showed Wednesday. For a child at a private school, parents spend a total of 16.63 million yen in the 15 years, while education at a public school costs 5.51 million yen, according to the biennial survey for fiscal 2008.

In fiscal 2008 alone, parents with a child going to a private primary school paid 1.39 million yen on average, roughly 4.5 times more than the 310,000 yen spent by those with a public elementary school child.

For kindergarten, junior high school, and high school education, the gap is smaller but parents had to pay a larger amount for private education than for public education.

The survey also showed parents with a higher income tend to have their children receive education at private schools.

Around 42 percent of parents who have a child going to a private elementary school earn more than 12 million yen a year, and the percentage came to 32 percent for junior high school, and 17 percent for high school.

On expenses for after-school activities, 560,000 yen was spent on average for a private elementary school student, almost unchanged from the previous survey, while 210,000 yen was spent for a public school student, down 30,000 yen. (Excerpts retr. fr. Breitbart.com)

In the Yomiuri Shimbun Japanese version, figures for spending by parents of private school-going middle school students was given at 400,000 yen  see 中3の塾代など学校外活動費、過去最高の年40万円

Chart lines from the bottom show public schooling expenses from kindergarten to elementary to middle school to high school stages (Yomiuri Shimbun

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Imperial family parts from schooling tradition (Asahi) Find out Which schools are good enough for Japan’s imperial family?

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According to Daily Yomiuri, just slightly under half of education boards of local governments have administered English tests as part of their teacher employment tests for the coming academic year (2010) …see excerpts below

40% of school boards test English of new recruits (Jan 28 Daily Yomiuri)

“27 of 65 education boards of local governments–prefectural governments and ordinance-designated cities–administered English tests as part of their teacher employment tests for the upcoming 2010 academic year, which starts in April.

Among these boards, 15 began asking English-related questions on their recruitment tests in 2008 for the 2009 school year.
Examination content varies, but a typical recruitment exam comprises written tests, practical tests–including piano playing and box vaulting–and face-to-face interviews.
English tests are administered in various forms.
Twenty-three boards of education included English tests as part of their written tests–including listening comprehension and English composition tests–on the recruitment exams for the 2010 school year.
Twelve education boards–including some of these 23 boards–administered practical skill tests to evaluate English conversational levels.
Focusing on efforts to employ teachers with a high degree of English proficiency, the Saitama prefectural government set up a special application category on its academic 2009 recruitment exam for prospective teachers with English qualifications– such as a Grade Pre-1 on the Eiken English proficiency test. Applicants in the category are exempted from a portion of the recruitment exam.
Last year, 17 applicants passed in the category–with this figure accounting for only 2 percent of more than 700 successful examinees.”

Education boards that have adopted English-related tests as part of teacher employment exams / Black dot indicates that the relevant English-related tests were newly adopted for employment exams for academic 2009

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According to a survey by the education ministry, the figure of high school students studying abroad for more than 3 months in 2008  dipped by 19% from the previous year (2006) to 3,190.  Alternatively, read the full article here… Fewer high school students studying abroad (Japan Times) [see also related news: U.S. loses its allure as a study destination]
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Elsewhere in the world on education:
by Bill Costello (Jan 28, 2010 ) While researching education systems in Asia, I had the opportunity to visit schools and universities in China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan.
(Jan 28, 2010 – When it comes to education, the Government persists in looking through the wrong end of the telescope – and with an ill-fitting, short-sighted lens, by Gillian Low

(The Washington Post Jan 22, 1010 ) – Diana Senecha – In discussions of “effective” teaching, we often hear about the “objectives” that teachers should spell out and repeat, the “learning styles” they should target. Senecha cautions against letting “techniques take precedence over the lesson’s content.”
(Jan 21, 2010)- Ever seen the Advanced Placement Grade Report for your high school? I thought not. Most people don’t know it exists.

No of high school students studying abroad drops 19% in FY 20008 (Jan 28 Kyodo News) According to a survey by the education ministry, the figure of high school students studying abroad for more than 3 months in 2008  dipped by 19% from the previous year (2006) to 3,190.  Alternatively, read the full article here… Fewer high school students studying abroad (Japan Times) [see also related news: U.S. loses its allure as a study destination]