Will China embark on the failure road of Japan’s liberal education

Facing the alienated education,

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, how to promote the reform is an international problem. It is the only way for the education reform to integrate “learning” with “thinking” and to achieve a balance between loose education and cramming education.

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glacial think tank specially written by Dou Xinhao

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in May 2016, the Minister of culture and science of Japan (equivalent to the Minister of education of China) officially admitted the failure of liberal education. Japan’s more than 30 years of loose education reform has come to an end.

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seem to have come to an end. However, as an attempt prior to China, many experiences and lessons are worth pondering and using for reference. The red part of

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, is the period of loose education, the yellow part is the period of transition, and the blue part is the period of non loose education? 】

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are the first countries in East Asia to establish a complete education system. Japan has established a set of objective and efficient selection system early. With the long-term influence of Confucian culture, Japanese people attach great importance to education. Therefore, exam oriented education has become one of the main characteristics of Japanese education.

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are the same as those in China. In order to achieve good results in the exam, Japanese students memorize the book knowledge by rote. After class, they continue to take tutorial classes, review their lessons and do exercises. There is even a saying that “four when five fall” – four hours of sleep a day to get into college, five hours of sleep will be a failure.

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in the 1970s, the university entrance rate in Japan has reached more than 30%, but the lower the University threshold does not reduce the pressure on students and parents to enter the University, because the academic society has rapidly evolved into a “school calendar society”.

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, that is to say, the rapid depreciation of university diploma and the grade of graduation school will have a greater impact on the future development of students. Students are still blindly pursuing test results and devote all their energy to the study for the purpose of examination.

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in the cramming exam oriented education, the students are rigid in thinking, narrow in vision, poor in physical quality and lack of creativity. As a result, the reform of liberal education began to reduce the burden of students.

the population of 18 years old and the number of college graduates decreased sharply, while the number of college enrollment increased year by year,

[what about loose education? 】

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in the late 1970s, the Japanese government revised the curriculum standards of primary and secondary schools, simplified the learning content and reduced the teaching time. People of

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have been dissatisfied with cramming education for a long time. In the late 1980s and 1990s, the government continued to revise the curriculum standards to further reduce the burden on primary and secondary school students.

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not only reduce the burden, but also pay attention to the cultivation of students’ ability to survive. They set up the so-called “comprehensive learning time” with experience and investigation as the main content.

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of the Ministry of culture and science believe that the addition of comprehensive learning time can not only cultivate the ability of students to find, study, think, judge and solve problems independently, but also cultivate their attitude and thinking methods to solve and explore problems creatively, and make students learn to think about their own way of life.

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in the rapidly changing globalization and information society, these abilities will directly affect students’ future life and work, far more important than rigid book knowledge.

only in a loose environment, putting aside the utilitarian view of education, can students have time to think and carry out exploration and discovery activities. Therefore, it can be said that the so-called “loose education” formulated by the Japanese government aims to use the loose time and content in exchange for the improvement of students’ learning quality. Loose education has drawn a beautiful blueprint for Japan’s basic education.

[why is loose education criticized? 】

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, however, there is always a long distance between ideal and reality. Since the mid-1990s, the voice of criticizing liberal education has been heard in Japanese society. Many educators of

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have pointed out that loose education will not only lead to the decline of students’ learning ability (i.e. the ability obtained through basic education), but also aggravate the learning ability gap between social classes. The former affects social development, while the latter affects social stability. In this sense, liberal education is sinful.

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Japanese scholars compared the survey data of some public primary and secondary schools in Osaka in 1989 and 2001, and found that the academic capacity of the investigated students decreased significantly in 2001.

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loose education reduce the teaching time and learning content. From the test results of mathematics, Mandarin and other subjects, the decline of learning ability should be a natural result.

, but further analysis shows that the decline of learning ability does not occur in all social classes, and the proportion of students from middle and lower class families in low learning groups has increased. And the reason why the class gap of learning ability is enlarged is the increase of extra-curricular time, which is considered to be one of the most important reasons. Before the 1990s,

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, primary and secondary school students only had one day off a week. After the 1990s, public schools gradually popularized the two-day-a-week rest system. How to arrange the new day? There are differences among families of different social classes. The parents of

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middle and upper class families often send their children to cram schools or arrange some cultural activities for them, while the parents of middle and lower class families are mostly laissez faire, unable to effectively use the new rest time. “KDSPE “”

“is even more troublesome. In addition to public schools, there are many private primary and secondary schools beyond the reach of the government. Private schools are not subject to the new curriculum standards issued by the government, and have not significantly reduced the teaching time and learning content. Many parents, worried about the decline of their children’s learning ability, will have an impact on their future enrollment, so they will send their children to private schools instead.

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however, the tuition fees of private schools are very high. Taking the statistics of 2002 as an example, the learning fees of private secondary schools are 2.8 times higher than that of public secondary schools, which is a huge burden for families with poor economic conditions.

. At the same time, various for-profit education and training institutions outside the school also play a role in promoting the stratification of learning capacity. In order to attract students, these institutions publicize the decline of academic capacity, which further aggravates the panic of all sectors of society. Although

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are facing great resistance, the Japanese government initially showed firm determination to continue to promote loose education. After 1998, it vigorously advocated the new concept of learning ability to cultivate the so-called “viability” and further reduced the burden of schoolwork. However, after 2000, in the three-year Pisa test and other international academic tests, Japan’s ranking continued to decline. This objective data has become the last straw to bend the will of the government.

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faced with the criticism from the domestic media and all sectors of society, the Japanese government had to amend the loose education route, proposed in 2007 to “increase the teaching time of the school by 10%”, and revised the curriculum standard in 2008, and increased the teaching content again. In fact, since then, liberal education has become a historical term.

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, movie “how about the loose generation”,

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[what does loose education tell us? 】

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, however, whether Japan’s liberal education is totally denied or not, needs to be more objective and in-depth analysis.

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loose education began in the early 1980s and lasted until 2007. In fact, it wasn’t until the end of the 1990s that there was a lot of criticism.

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we can divide 1998 into two stages: the first and the second.

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in the previous stage, the Japanese educational circles and people basically agreed with the relaxed education, but in the latter stage, the negative view of the relaxed education occupies the mainstream. And even in the later stage, many experts and scholars, principals of primary and secondary schools and business people support liberal education, and believe that the “viability” and “knowledge application ability” advocated by liberal education meet the needs of society.

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show that the concept of liberal education is logically correct, but the specific measures taken are very problematic.

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Confucius said: “learning without thinking is useless, thinking without learning is dangerous.” If we just study knowledge and don’t think about practical problems, the knowledge we have learned is meaningless, but we only emphasize the cultivation of the ability to think and solve problems, and do not fully learn the basic knowledge, which is ultimately just empty talk.

Japanese primary school break time

needs to grasp “degree” in everything, and it is right to create a relatively loose learning environment for students. But after two rounds of load reduction, in the late 1990s, Japanese public primary and secondary school students’ schoolwork burden has been very light, and further “load reduction” will certainly hurt their normal learning ability. On the other hand,

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lead to the failure of liberal education, which is also due to the government’s lack of overall view on education.

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education is an important part of the social system, so any reform in the field of education must be adapted to other parts of the social system. In other words, in order to promote loose education, we must adjust the relevant systems.

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first of all, the existence of a large number of private schools and education and training institutions is equivalent to a hole in the system design of liberal education. As a result, many conditional families bypass loose education and try their best to lay a shortcut for children to win in social selection. As a result, there is a closer relationship between social class and education background, which aggravates the problem of social injustice.

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secondly, the core content of loose education is to help students get rid of the shackles of cramming education and improve their survival ability, thinking ability, knowledge application ability, etc. but how many of these abilities can be effectively tested in the entrance examination?

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must reform the entrance examination system, change the form of examination and increase the content of examination, so as to ensure that students’ actual ability can be evaluated comprehensively and objectively.

Japanese college entrance examination results announcement site

because of Japanese government officials’ half understanding of education and various restrictions of social environment, loose education ended in failure in the result. However, this bold attempt left precious experience and lessons for China, so it can be said that loose education is not useless.

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loose education and cramming education are two extremes. We often fall into a strange circle between them. Either or, by negating one side, to accept the other side, over and over again, forever. Facing the alienated education,

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, how to promote the reform is an international problem. It is the only way of education reform to integrate “learning” with “thinking” and to achieve a balance between loose education and cramming education. The cultivation of

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for human beings concerns every life, every family, and then affects the whole society. In the process of educational reform, policy makers should be awed and cautious

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