In the news: Saitama high school to offer classes to university students

A public high school in Saitama Prefecture will allow some university students to audit its classes from the next academic year, an extremely rare move planned in response to the decline in basic academic abilities among university students.
While university professors are welcoming this unusual idea, some university students say it will be too embarrassing to join high school classes.
Fukiage Shuo High School in Konosu, Saitama Prefecture, and two universities in the prefecture–Daito Bunka University and Institute of Technologists–formed a partnership in March to allow Fukiage Shuo students to take classes at the universities. They also agreed that university students with poor academic abilities would be allowed to take classes at the high school, sources said.
Under the agreement, university students can take classes with high school students at a yearly cost of 1,750 yen per subject. Details concerning students and subjects will be decided later.
More and more universities recently have begun offering special classes for students with inadequate academic abilities. According to the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, 52 of 572 universities in this country offered such courses in the 1996 academic year, about 9 percent of the total. In 2007, the number had risen to 244 out of 742 universities, or 33 percent.
“Though students’ academic abilities are declining from year to year, professors and lecturers can’t teach them the basics like high school teachers,” said Prof. Shunji Yamazaki, head of Daito Bunka University’s student services agency. “It’s difficult for us to hold supplemental classes for each subject.”
Fukiage Shuo is a credit system high school that opened in April with classes during the day and at night. Aiming to become “a school open to local society,” it allows people besides its regular students to take courses there. “We have classes until 9 p.m. and no school uniform. We believe it’ll be comfortable for university students, too,” a school official said.
Reactions were mixed, however, among university students. A sophomore at Daito Bunka University said he wanted to take classes he is interested in at Fukiage Shuo, because when he was in high school, he only studied English words and classic Japanese that were likely to appear on college entrance exams.
However, a female university freshman said, “It’d be a bit embarrassing to attend a high school class. I couldn’t tell my friends.”
(May. 17, 2010)

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