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A critical historiographical analysis of Japan’s educational policies from the end of the World War II to 2011

TitleA critical historiographical analysis of Japan’s educational policies from the end of the World War II to 2011
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMaehara K
Secondary TitleITALIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION
Volume6
Issue2
Pagination115-143
Date Published06/2014
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
KeywordsEducation policy, Japanese meritocracy, neo-liberal policy, ‘yutori’ reform
Abstract

This article aims to describe educational policy making in Japan, mainly after WW II, by dividing it into three eras: the first era from postwar WWII to the early 1980s; the second era mid to late 1980s; the third era late 1990s to the present (2012). The first era is characterized by the contradiction between the political and economic requirements for diversification of the school system and the Japanese original meritocratic single track system. The most critical element for understanding the postwar time Japanese education system is to understand the main traits of how the meritocratic single track system functions. In the second era, the provisional Council on Educational Reform proposed some neo-liberal reform ideas for the Japanese school system which have had long-term influences to this day. The third era of neo-liberal reform is also the age of political disarray, despite a call for “politicians-led” policy making instead of the dominance of bureaucrats. Some important changes of the Japanese successful school system have been introduced gradually in this era. This paper also proposes some models that have been used to analyze the recent years educational policy making systems in Japan. It is asserted that the expanding of political spaces opens up some possibilities for educational scholars to take more significant roles in educational policy making than before.

URLhttp://ijse.padovauniversitypress.it/2014/2/6
DOI10.14658/pupj-ijse-2014-2-6
Paper: