Public Schools in Nagoya

Education Structure and Compulsory Levels:

  • Education in Japan is managed by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).
  • Education is compulsory at the elementary and lower secondary levels.
  • Most students attend public schools through the lower secondary level, but private education is popular at the upper secondary and university levels.
  • Education before elementary school is provided at kindergartens and daycare centers.

Academic Year:

  • The academic year in Japan starts in April and ends in March, with summer vacation in August and winter vacation at the end of December to the beginning of January.

Academic Calendar

FirstApril to AugustSummer Break (end of July to end of August)
SecondSeptember to DecemberWinter Break (end of December to beginning of January)
ThirdJanuary to MarchSpring Break (end of March to beginning of April)

School Timetable

School DaysClass DaysClass PeriodsPeriod DurationExtracurricular Activities
Monday to Friday5 days a week6 periods per day50 minutes per periodClub activities after classes

Core Educational Requirements:

  • Japanese students consistently rank highly in reading, mathematics, and sciences in international assessments like PISA.
  • Japan strongly emphasizes education as a means of socioeconomic mobility and employment in its high-tech economy.
  1. Japanese (the national language): This is a compulsory subject, and students must study Japanese.
  2. Arithmetic, mathematics, etc.: Mathematics is a core subject in the curriculum, and students are required to study it.
  3. Science, technology, etc.: Science and technology are also part of the compulsory subjects.
  4. Foreign languages: Besides Japanese, students must study at least one other language, mainly English. Occasionally, students may study languages like Korean, Spanish, Arabic, French, German, or Chinese.
  5. Social studies: This includes subjects like history, geography, and civics.
  6. Physical education: Health and sports-related subjects are included in the curriculum.
  7. Moral education: Usually taught at primary school levels.
  8. Informatics, technology, etc.: This likely covers computer science and related subjects.
  9. Home economics, technology, etc.: Home economics and technology subjects are also part of the curriculum.

Educational Spending:

  • Japan spends 4.1% of its GDP on education, slightly below the OECD average of 5%.
  • While expenditure per student is comparatively high, the total expenditure relative to GDP remains relatively small.

Higher Education:

  • Japan has a high percentage of individuals with tertiary education, with 52.7% of 25-to-64-year-olds attaining it in 2020.
  • Bachelor’s degrees are held by 31.3% of Japanese aged 25 to 64.
  • Japanese females are more highly educated compared to their male counterparts.

School Levels:

  • The lower secondary school covers grades seven through nine, with students typically aged twelve through fifteen.
  • Compulsory education ends at grade nine, but less than 2% drop out.
  • Primary school students have different teachers for different subjects.
  • Instruction in primary schools is often in the form of lectures.

School Level Chart

School LevelAge RangeDuration
Preschool/KindergartenUsually 3 to 63 years
Elementary SchoolUsually 6 to 12 years old6 years
Junior High SchoolUsually 12 to 15 years old3 years
High SchoolUsually 15 to 18 years old3 years
Junior/4-Year CollegeVaries, but typically 18 and older2-3 years (varies by institution)

Upper Secondary School:

  • Upper secondary school is not compulsory but is attended by 94% of junior high school graduates.
  • There are full-time general programs and technical and vocational courses.
  • Part-time programs, evening courses, and correspondence education are also available.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • The Japanese educational system heavily emphasizes extracurricular activities, such as juku (private cram schools), to prepare for university entrance exams.


  • The Japanese educational system has faced criticism for its immense pressure on students to succeed academically.
  • Concerns include school violence, cheating, suicide, and psychological harm due to academic pressure.
  • There is criticism about students’ lack of free time, particularly in middle and high school, due to cram schooling (juku).
  • Bullying is another issue, with concerns about insufficient efforts to reduce bullying in schools.

Douglas P Perkins, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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