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Home > Policy > White Paper, Notice, Announcement > White Paper > Japanese Government Policies in Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology 2001 >Introduction Section2.2

Educational Reform for the 21st Century
Section 2:   Advancement of the Economy and Society, and Educational Reform
2   Japan's Economic Growth and Education

(1) Development of Human Abilities and Diversification of Upper Secondary Education

From around 1960, the Japanese economy shifted from a stage of restoration to growth. The Economic Council's recommendation report in March 1961 underscored the importance of human resources development for economic growth. The innovation of science and technology as well as high economic growth generated the new demand for the development of diversified human abilities.

  On the other hand, the Japanese people's zeal for education led to the rise in the percentage of students who went on to upper secondary schools under the economic climate of high growth. The percentage of students who attended upper secondary schools topped 50% in 1954, 70% by the time the "Baby Boom" generation were entering upper secondary schools, and 90% in 1974.

  In the meantime, the Central Council for Education in October 1966 came up with the recommendation report on the Expansion and Improvement of Upper Secondary Education, proposing to make upper secondary schools "diversified in consideration of the demands of society."

  The income-doubling plan, put forth in November 1960, estimated a shortage of some 170,000 scientists and engineers during the doubling plan period (1960 to 1970). On the basis of this estimate, the MESSC increased the enrollment of students in science and engineering programs by 20,000 from FY1961, and launched the college of technology system from FY1962 in order to foster practical engineers. The ministry also established more master's courses at science and engineering graduate schools, with the quota of admissions there almost quadrupling between 1960 and 1970.

(2) Increased Enrollment for Higher Education and Private Universities

The higher income levels of the Japanese people resulting from high economic growth, coupled with the traditional tendency toward excessive emphasis on academic credentials, remarkably increased those who wished to move on to higher education. After 1965, there was a sharp rise in the number of Baby Boomers entering universities and other institutions of higher education. In FY1971, almost one quarter of the Baby Boomer generation was enrolled at universities or junior colleges.

  Private universities supported the popularization and spread of higher education, accepting 60% of students entering university in 1955, and as many as 70% in 1965. In FY1970, private universities started receiving subsidies for current expenditures, including personnel costs.

  Amid these circumstances and following the turmoil present on university campuses from around 1965 to 1975, university reform emerged as a major educational issue.

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