Monday, January 15, 2018

More Dispatches From Exam Hell

A digression:

So why the massive difference in admissions standards at prefectural high schools?

In Japan, attendance zones determine the primary or middle school to which a child is sent, but when compulsory education ends with junior high school graduation, admission to upper-secondary school becomes competitive, or "meritocratic".

(While it is true that attendance zones no longer apply after middle school, a student's home address is nevertheless a fair predictor of who will not enter an elite high school- see a recent piece in the Japan Times by Philip Brasor about how this plays out in the Tokyo real-estate market.) 

Back to "meritocratic", because if you are not, dear student, blessed with a photographic memory but instead are merely one of the sharper pencils in the box and come from a family that lacks the means to send you to cram school (juku), your chances of entering one of the better college-prep prefectural high schools diminish accordingly- as does your shot at enrolling at a public or more selective private tertiary institution- as do your chances of enjoying financial security later in life.

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