MEXT determines the Courses of Study as broad standards for all schools, from kindergarten through upper secondary schools, to organize their programs in order to ensure a fixed standard of education throughout the country.

The Courses of Study have generally been revised once every 10 years. The Courses of Study for elementary and lower secondary schools were revised in March 2008 and those for upper secondary schools and schools for special needs education, in March 2009. The new Courses of Study continue to aim to nurture in students “Zest for life” based on the educational principles expressed in the revisions to the Basic Act on Education. The new Courses of Study enrich the content of education and increase the number of classes, with an emphasis on the balance between acquiring basic and fundamental knowledge and skills and fostering the ability to think, make decision, and express oneself.

To enable the smooth implementation of the new Courses of Study, MEXT also works on initiatives to enhance administrative systems and educational facilities and to ensure the quality and quantity of textbooks.

Since FY2007, MEXT has carried out the National Assessment of Academic Ability in mathematics and Japanese for students in the sixth year of elementary school and the third year of lower secondary school. The results have revealed that there have been challenges in the utilization of knowledge and skills. Educational policies and classroom teaching have been improved based on these results.

Outline of the revision of courses of study

National Curriculum Standards(2017-2018 Revision)

Elementary School

Lower Secondary School

National Curriculum Standards(2008-2009 Revision)


Elementary School

Lower Secondary School

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(Office for Assessment of Academic Ability, Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau)