(1)The Enactment of the School Education Law

After the passage through the Imperial Diet the School Education Law was promulgated on March 31, 1947, and put in force on April 1 of that year, prior to the enforcement of the Constitution of Japan. This Law formally ushered in a new era in the Japanese educational system. In terms of educational content, the reforms and principles set forth in the Constitution of Japan and the Fundamental Law of Education were actualized. Structurally, the most notable feature of the new educational system was the unification and rationalization of the entire school system, from kindergartens to universities. Under the new system, all regular schools which provide general education were organized into 1) six years of primary school represented with the same name of "elementary school"(shogakko) as prewar institutions which offered elementary education to children in their eight-year school age, 2) three years of lower secondary school, and 3) three years of upper secondary school Furthermore, the varying types of higher educational institutions were consolidated into a single four-year university system thus putting the finishing touches to the core of the new 6-3-3-4 educational system. Any graduate of an upper secondary school was entitled to apply for entrance to a university. In effect, therefore, the doors of the universities were opened much wider in order to promote the spread of liberal education and the development of scholarship. Over the 6-3-3-4 stage mentioned above, at the apex of the new educational system, graduate schools also were systematized. Measures were taken to ensure an equal education for all citizens: sexual discrimination was abolished; scholarships and other forms of financial aid were made available to citizens who would otherwise have difficulty attending school; part-time attendance and correspondence courses were made available in upper secondary schools and universities; and special schools for the handicapped were integrated into the regular school system.

A notable feature of the new system was the emphasis placed on general education. Lower secondary education was designed to upgrade the general educational level of all citizens rather than to provide vocational training and the period of compulsory school attendance was extended to nine years so as to include the lower secondary school. One side effect of this change was the abolition of youth schools, which had made working youths attend part-time schools until they were nineteen years of age.


(C)COPYRIGHT Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

((C)COPYRIGHT Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)

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