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4. School Education 

1. The Japanese School System 日本の学校制度

The modern school system in Japan was inaugurated in 1872. Up until the Second World War, there were several different tracks students could follow within the school system; however, after the war, as is shown in Chart 4, a single-track system called "the 6-3-3-4 system" (this being the number of years for each school level) was introduced to establish equal educational opportunities. Recently, this system has seen diversification, leading back to a multi-track system.

日本の近代学校制度は1872年の学制発布に始まる。第二次世界大戦までは、複線的な制度が採用されていたが、戦後は、図4に見られるような6-3-3-4 制と呼ばれる単線的な制度が、教育の機会均等の理念の実現を目指して導入された。しかし最近になって再び制度の多様化が図られている。

Chart 4: Japanese Schools System


Japanese School System (chart4.pdf )

2. School Education in Aichi Prefecture 愛知県の学校教育

The Aichi Prefectural Board of Education endeavors every year to offer guidance to schools by prescribing fundamental concepts which will develop outstanding personalities in children and students and will help to nurture human being equally balanced in knowledge, high morals, and physical health. By helping infants and students build a base on which they can continue to grow and develop throughout their lives, the Board aims to nurture the talents of students so that someday they will further build their country and its society.

The guiding objectives prescribed for 2018 are:

  1. To respect life, build strong minds and bodies, and instill a zest for living.
  2. To foster the value of seeking the truth and the ability to learn things on one's own, think carefully, and act independently with a broad point of view.
  3. To value courtesy, practies self-discipline, and build an enriching life with others.


  1. 命を尊び、心や体を鍛え、たくましく生きる力を養う。
  2. 真理を求める態度と、自ら学び、深く考え、広い視野をもって主体的に行動する力を養う。
  3. 礼節を重んじ、自らを律し、他とともに心豊かな生活を築く態度を養う。

(1) Pre-school Education 幼児教育

As facilities available for pre-school children, early childhood education and child care are practiced in kindergartens and nursery schools.
 Kindergartens,as educational facilities, are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology. Any child between the ages of three and five may enter kindergarten; thus, a child may attend kindergarten for two or three years. The purpose of kindergarten, as it lays the foundation for further education, is to care for young children, provide an appropriate environment for their healthy growth, and aid the development of young minds and bodies, establishing the basis for human development.
 Nursery schools, as child welfare facilities, are available for infants and children up to the age of five.
 Nursery schools, categorized as social welfare facilities, are therefore under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. The Aichi Prefectural Government offers counseling services related to nursery schools at the Parenting Assistance Division, Department of Health and Public Welfare.


Kindergarten children enjoying train game

Kindergarten children enjoying a train game


(2) Compulsory Education 義務教育

Elementary School: In Japan, parents with children who reach the age of six are required by law to have them attend elementary school for six years. Elementary school is intended to provide a general elementary education, fostering students’ mental and physical development.

Lower Secondary School: In Japan, parents with children who complete the elementary school curriculum are required by law to have them attend lower secondary school for three years. Building upon the education received in elementary school, lower secondary school aims to provide children with a general secondary education suited to the level of their physical and mental development.



Classroom at an elementary school


Elementary and lower secondary school children involved in farming as part of exchange activities for the integrated learning period


(3) Upper Secondary Education 高等学校教育

In Aichi Prefecture, about 99% of lower secondary school graduates continue to upper secondary schools. There are three different systems offered by upper secondary schools: a full-time course, a part-time course, and a correspondence course. The full-time course requires three years for completion while the other two courses require more than three years to complete. The upper secondary level consists of two types of schools: general and vocational. Both build upon the education received in lower secondary school and suit the mental and physical development of their students. In Aichi Prefecture, there are schools that focus on such areas as agriculture, technical and commercial education, fishery, home economics, nursing, welfare, art, music, sports science, and intercultural studies. These schools are continually updating their courses and creating new ones in an effort to keep pace with the changes occurring in the industrial world as well as in the world of science and technology. There are also comprehensive schools where students can choose both general and vocational courses, while some general schools offer a course system which allows students to receive vocational training.


A class in a vocational course


Scene from high school club activity


After the regular classes have finished, high school students participate in a wide range of club activities, from sports to clubs with cultural themes.


(4) Special Needs Education  特別支援教育

Special needs education schools, special needs classes in elementary and lower secondary schools, and special seminars for students with disabilities support such students’ independence and active participation in society by extending their capabilities and improving their living and learning environments through appropriate guidance and help suited to each student’s needs. Special educational support is also given to students with disabilities who require special assistance in regular classes in elementary and lower secondary schools.

Especially in Aichi Prefecture, sincere efforts are being made to further enhance special needs education programs. Such efforts include first-hand classroom experience for prospective students and their guardians in the prefectural special needs education schools, work to create better understanding towards the disabled and thoughtfulness among all people, and programs that promote interaction between ordinary schools and schools for the disabled. Career education has been implemented throughout elementary, lower secondary, and upper secondary schools in the interest of achieving independence and social participation.



An independent activity class at a school for students with visual impairments


A metalworking class at an upper secondary school for the mentally disabled


A vocational education class using personal computers at a school for the physically disabled


A class in a sickroom at a special needs education school for the poor in health


(5) School Health and School Lunch Programs 学校保健と学校給食

Health and Safety: Developing healthy minds and bodies is one of the principal goals of school education. Pursuant to this, health education emphasizes the teaching of preventive health habits and attitudes essential for healthy and safe lives. At the same time, preventive health and safety management are conducted by the school in the form of health check-ups, school environment hygiene inspections, and safety inspections of school equipment.

School Lunches: Delicious and nutritionally balanced meals that include local produce are offered in schools. School lunches are an effective tool for dietary education in that they help children gain an understanding of food and good table manners, as well as foster human relations.



Developing good brushing habits


Eating a school lunch


(6) Teachers 教員

The results of school education are largely the responsibility of the teachers, making the role of the teaching staff extremely important. In Aichi Prefecture, all the teachers, from newer and experienced teachers to managerial staff are the target of a serious effort to improve teaching skills, qualities, and capabilities that make excellent teachers. This takes the form of a systematic and effective training program personalized to the professional development of the teaching staff and is located mainly at the Aichi Prefectural Education Center.


Exterior view of the Aichi Prefectural Education Center


In order to enhance the prefectural education system, educational services other than the training of teaching staff are also rendered. These services include research into education-related matters and educational counseling.
 In order to build elementary and secondary students’ ability to make use of information by using the Internet, the Aichi Education Information Service Network and a database that consists of educational literature and other information related to the study of education are built and offered to schools and teachers.



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Aichi Prefectural Board of Education
Aichi Prefecture