Analysis of the Education Systems of Japan and Ukraine

T.P. Kuchai

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Analysis of the Education Systems of Japan and Ukraine

T.P. Kuchai

Department of pre-primary and elementary education, Bohdan Khmelnytskiy national university at Cherkasy, Cherkasy, Ukraine


The article presents a comparative analysis, similarities and differences in the development of student learning and teacher training at universities in Japan and Ukraine are found. The origins of Japanese economic miracle are particularly suited to the training and education of the younger generation, combining western trends with the traditional humanistic educational principles. The Japanese education system, like Ukrainian, has undergone transformation towards humanistic many difficulties due to historical conditions and characteristics of the national mentality. Comparative analysis of the education system in Japan and Ukraine showed similar approaches in the educational process in schools: the structure of schools (primary, basic, senior), the operation of private schools, although there is a difference in the period of training; the use of credit- modular technology that promotes democratization of education; organizational forms of the educational process for the preparation of teachers (lectures, seminars, practical and so on.); Graduate School offers training both competition and on contract basis in government educational institutions; there are private educational universities.

Cite this article:

  • Kuchai, T.P.. "Analysis of the Education Systems of Japan and Ukraine." American Journal of Educational Research 1.11 (2013): 571-575.
  • Kuchai, T. (2013). Analysis of the Education Systems of Japan and Ukraine. American Journal of Educational Research, 1(11), 571-575.
  • Kuchai, T.P.. "Analysis of the Education Systems of Japan and Ukraine." American Journal of Educational Research 1, no. 11 (2013): 571-575.

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1. Introduction

The strategy of Ukraine is aimed at developing the national education system and its adaptation to a market economy, transformation and integration into the European and world educational community. Therefore, as I. Gryschenko remarks the experience of developed countries in the modernization of education systems would be of primary importance for Ukrainian education system. We are interested in the development of the education system in Japan [1].

2. The Aim of the Article

The aim of the article is to provide comparative analysis and to identify similarities and differences in the development of student learning and teacher training at universities in Japan and Ukraine.

3. Analysis of Research on the Problem

The problem of upbringing and education of children and youth in Ukraine and Japan was the subject of analysis for many educators and psychologists in different historical periods: I. Gryschenko, V.Yelmanova, O. Zheleznyak, S. Koretska, G. Kochkina, G. Mykaberydze, A. Ozerska, T.Pavlova, N. Pazyura, T.Sverdlova and others.

4. Comparative Analysis of the Education Systems in Japan and Ukraine

As noted by T. Sverdlova, the educational systems of the Far East are in a state of rapid development. They undergo significant evolutionary changes, similar to those of the education system in Ukraine. The best national achievements and most progressive international experience are successfully combined during such changes. As a result, the effectiveness of training is constantly increasing, while its humanistic orientation is becoming more expressive [[2], p. 117].

Japanese education is unique and very peculiar phenomenon. Due to the unique historical and geographical conditions (insular position of the state, alternating periods of political openness and isolation, alternating influences of Eastern and Western culture), Japan gained special ability to accumulate the best achievements of other countries, to adapt them to their own conditions and to apply them in their own "Japan-like" form, that is in combination with their own cultural traditions.

The origins of Japanese economic miracle lie mostly in a special attitude to teaching and upbringing of the younger generation, which combines western trends with the traditional humanistic educational principles [[3], p. 5].

Despite a thorough study, some aspects of this issue, mainly identifying similar and different features in the development of student learning at school and teacher training needs further reflection.

Based on the analysis of scientific literature we defined and pointed out the specific features of the educational system in schools and universities of Japan and Ukraine.

The comparative analysis of the education system in Japan and Ukraine showed similar approaches in the educational process in schools:

- The structure of schools ( primary, basic, senior), the operation of private schools, although there is a difference in the period of study;

- The use of credit- modular technology that promotes democratization of education; organizational forms of educational process in teacher training (lectures, seminars, workshops etc.).

- Higher educational establishments offer training both on a competitive and on a contract basis in state educational institutions; there are also private pedagogical higher educational institutions.

In the 20-70s years of XX century Japanese educators got interested in Soviet education and found many similarities: class- lesson system, mandatory attendance, the number of pupils within a form ( about 40 pupils), examinations, centralized school management, teacher - the center of the educational process, the lack of differentiation due to one’s abilities. But the Soviet theory and learning experience inspired the Japanese to import those things which do not contradict their national educational traditions. Especially popular are the works of the Soviet educator, humanist V. Sukhomlynsky, they got really inspired by his ideas, celebration of beauty, ability to find flowers, leaves, butterfly special facets and educate students in the aesthetic and ethical preferences and values develop their emotional sphere, because the Japanese appreciate the respect to human rights, respect for parents, caring for nature [[3], p. 128-129].

Very remotely internship program (temporary outplacement of students in the field related to the subject under study) can be compared with the lessons of socially useful labor in Soviet schools. But in Japan, this program brings student to the realities of the adult working lives and improves self-esteem. This is an important social experience for students who get new knowledge and moral identity formation occurs [[3], p. 167].

We note as a positive fact that in Japan experience of other countries is extensively studied. Particular attention is drawn to the fact that new, borrowed from other countries, is used in experimental schools (carried out practical research on increasing activity and motivation of students).

On the basis of the American experience, using new forms and methods of training, focused on detailed observation of individual achievements of each student to meet their individual needs, adapting to the conditions of the education system [[3], p. 188].

Studying the problem of building Ukrainian school, Ukrainian scientists S. Goncharenko, Yu. Maliovanyy consider it necessary to implement personalization in the learning process [5].

Continuing the idea of these scholars, we point out that the trend of individualization is a powerful way of learning.

The Japanese education system, like the Ukrainian, has undergone transformation with many difficulties towards humanistic due to historical conditions and characteristics of the national mentality. In order to overcome the difficulties Japanese educators have implemented many reforms in elementary school, worthy of attention and further deeper studies that can resolve problems that arise [[7], p. 120].

An important part of training primary school teacher is the consideration of problems of training and education of students. As Davydov noted, in 1992 the Ministry of Education of Japan has introduced an improved curriculum in all grades of primary school [[6], p. 39]. In legislative materials of the Ministry of Education the main improvements over which teachers have to work and developed guidelines for them are formulated. In particular:

- Child rearing should be directed to the formation of such qualities: skill introspection behavior, thoughts, capacity for independent decisions, etc.;

- To provide children the necessary knowledge, facilitating the manifestation of their identity, and differentiation programs of artistic inclinations, desires to educate themselves;

- The main form of training - organizing group activities for each student aware of their role;

- Teaching children - to perceive problems of their own and of others;

- Increasing interest in children to the culture and traditions of the native country and the culture of other countries [[7], p. 30].

We believe that the introduction of an integrated course which, as noted by T. Sverdlova [[3], p. 173] promotes the use of original ideas in each school to implement teaching methods that promote the development of students' thinking and ability to solve problem situations plays an important role in the future, because at the lessons of integrated course, different skills that will be useful in job search.

Through moral education, the school takes into account random factors with which children face every day, such as the Internet. In this case, the teacher has to predict the nature of their actions to neutralize or enhance it for educational purposes. This problem concerns educators in Japan, and Ukraine, as the content of information sites, without depriving their value as an important source of information, is often aggressive and broadcast communication culture and moral values far from those instilled in Japanese and Ukrainian schools where educational work efficiency gradually decreases. It should be added that in modern Japanese culture in the information space of the Internet is a collision of cultural values, which leads to loosening and blurring of national culture, and as a result to distortions in moral education [[8], p. 139-140].

Researcher G. Mikaberidze notes such similar symptoms, both in Japan and Ukraine a pupil spent at least 2 hours on homework [[9], p. 87]. I. Gryschenko said that time of teaching in all universities in Japan is standardized. Basic Course of Teachers Higher Education lasts for 4 years in all major areas of study and specialties. A bachelor's degree after the basic course is awarded - Gakushi. Graduates who showed the ability to research, can continue their studies for the master's degree (Shushi). It lasts 2 years. Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Hakushi) provides 3 years doctoral studies for those with a master's degree and at least 5 years for a bachelor [1]. For standardization of the structure and course of study at universities in Japan for the preparation of teachers one can note their similarity to the structure in Ukraine.

The comparative analysis revealed features of the education of children and youth in Japan. In particular, preference is given to primary school moral education and organizing extracurricular activities. The tradition of priority role of education is supported by family.

4.1. Four Areas of Moral Education

The school curriculum includes three types of learning activities: academic subjects, moral education and extracurricular activities. It should be noted that the decree of Ministry of Education hakusyu - cedaw - ere emphasizes that moral education should be given adequate attention not only directly in the classroom, but also in all academic subjects and extracurricular activities. Lessons of moral education teachers give according to the developed recommendations based on state educational standards, readers for reading and other benefits. For teaching this subject teachers should develop curriculum for the entire school year. As to the content of moral education, it has four areas:

- Attitude to oneself;

- Attitude to other people, relationships with others;

- Attitude to nature and the sublime (divine) principle;

- Ratio within the group, within groups of people and the society as a whole [[8], p. 114-116 ].

Direct content and form of lessons on the subject of education are determined by each prefecture. Number of hours can vary - from one to four per week [[8], p. 120].

In elementary school lessons of morality are held once a week and are built according to the content of lessons on the subjects, extra-curricular classes are introduced to the program and, accordingly, to the schedule, from Grade 4 - is a specific feature of the curriculum of Japanese school [[8], pp. 145-146].

Man of traditional Oriental culture learns faster to be, than to know [[8], p.143].

Japan is a special "eastern" type of culture, which is characterized by the maintenance and preservation of cultural norms, values, customs, traditions, techniques and means of education. This distinguishes the “Eastern” culture from "Western" type, which is characterized by a change of paradigms thought of denying the value of the previous era and the nomination of its values and cultural norms that are oriented towards the younger generation [[8], p. 9]. As noted by G. Kochkina, in Japan moral culture isconsidered to be the part of culture and based on the traditions of recreation:

- Paternalistic - moral education as a compulsory Respect for the Aged;

- The religious - moral education as maintaining the authority of faith;

- Enlightenment - moral education as a result of the development of scientific knowledge;

- Communitarian - moral education as a process of forming a sense of teamwork.

In the practice of the reproduction of culture, each of these traditions is organically connected with others. But in Western culture (including Ukraine) enlightenment tradition is considered to be the dominant way of broadcasting culture. In the countries of Eastern culture in the first place are the paternalistic and communitarian traditions - these societies related to " traditional", because the recovery process is the main activity, social structures, life deposits traditions (China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea and others ). They change the process so slow that it seems to be static.

Western culture, in contrast, is characterized by the dominance of dynamic trends. Example of the "dynamic society" may be the country's Euro- American culture. In the value system of dynamic society occupies a special place rational knowledge and technological progress. However, in this case educational system in some ways is built on the dogmatic type and training people for future in accordance with the ideas of the past, i.e. the traditional culture samples [[8], pp. 32-34 ].

So one of the specific features of the education of children in Ukraine and Japan is that the advantage of elementary school in Japan is given to moral education and organizing extracurricular activities that the moral culture of Japan is based on the traditions of reproduction and broadcast dominant culture in the first place are the paternalistic and communitarian traditions.

4.2. Differences in Learning

We see the difference in the fact that Ukraine the central place in the educational process is the development of logical thinking, analysis, synthesis, conclusions; characteristic feature in in Japan - is primarily imitate or copy [[8], p. 138]. All life of Japanese is determined by the prestigious institutions, starting with the selection of the kindergarten. All children learn to work on the limits of their capabilities, learn by heart a large amount of educational material, being constantly under the pressure of competition. Japanese educational system remains authoritarian, focused not on the individual personality but on the social order, which is a major problem in education in Japan. Unification, unity curriculum and educational orientation training up till now remained the defining characteristics of modern elementary and junior high schools in Japan. Today, scientists and practitioners vigorously debated issues of identity and abilities.Until nowadays, in the Japanese language and in pedagogy erudition and abilities treated equate. And this is understandable, because the education system was focused on the development and education of artists, obedient functionaries. Today, the Japanese educational media highlights the existence of "urgent need for a creative person" and the need for an identification of gifted children at an early age.

For Japanese teacher all children are equal, none of them are weak and strong, but all are either lazy or diligent, what explains the lack of special programs for the gifted and underachieving children. There are no pupils staying for a second year in the same form, but there are “dzyuku" or "ebiko" - tutoring schools for such kids, which are quite popular in Japan. About 80% of children of primary school and 95% of secondary school attend in the evenings and on Sundays the "dzyuku" because the Japanese school does not guarantee their students the knowledge required for admission to universities and other educational institutions. [[3], p. 155].

Recently, Japanese scientists have spread among the theories about using computers to make certain adjustments in alertness of Japanese. This is due to the fact that there is a well-established idea of a bad Japanese ability to be creative. Experts say that creativity is an activity subject to the laws of analysis and synthesis, and logical processing of information - a prerequisite of this activity. Meanwhile, Japanese Professor Tsunoda said that the Japanese take the information coming from the external world, not as the Europeans: the Japanese language feature and function of emotions is based in the left hemisphere, and the Europeans have these functions different hemispheres (language - left and emotional - right). We can say that the Japanese analyze external information on the laws of nature. This largely explains the features of Japanese poetry and art. Moreover, according to Professor Tsunoda, an impact on the attitude of the Japanese to the analytic-synthetic activity is ideographic nature of Japanese writing.

One of the leaders of the research service company ‘Sony’ Makoto Kikuti, concluded that the student of Western culture during reading and writing focuses on logical characters. This behavior, according Kikuti, provides children the skills of logical thinking that unfolds sequentially. Japanese child takes entire structures characters (ideograms) and this is another system of mental activity. Creative thinking processes requires two mental operations - suksesyv (sequential) and simultaneous (concurrent). The Japanese are developed only in recent. Communicatiion with computers, according to scientists, will develop practically absent consistent system. Thus, the development of creative abilities using computers can be regarded as a specific method of Japanese education [[3], p.139].

It should be noted that the differentiation of schools in Japan is very slow, due to the fact that the transition to individualizing learning leads to a rejection of traditional forms and methods of teaching that were formed over centuries.

It should be noted that the differentiation of schools in Japan is very slow, due to the fact that the transition to a individualizing learning leads to a rejection of traditional forms and methods of teaching that were formed over centuries.

Contrast observed in the education system, particularly in terms of education. In Ukraine the system of education, which includes the following types of educational institutions, where teachers work:

- Kindergarten - 6 years;

- Elementary School - 4 years (grades 1-4);

- Primary school - 4 years (grades 5-8);

- High school - 3 years (grades 9-11);

- Colleges, educational institutions and universities.

- Gymnasiums, lyceums, colleges, private schools.

The education system in Japan is as follows: Primary School - 6 years, secondary education - 6 years, higher education - 4 years (bachelor) 2 years (Master) + 3years (doctor ). Six years of primary school education due to the fact that the Japanese language is an important part of education, and the education of the younger generation. To be able to write in Japanese, requires constant practice and accuracy. It is known that there are three Japanese alphabets. Besides Chinese characters "Kanji", which came to Japan in the VI century, there are two writing systems - "hiragana " and " katakana", each of which has 46 letters. "Kanji" is used to express not only words but whole concepts. At the end of primary school children should know about reading and writing about a thousand kanji [10].

As for the structure of higher education in Japan,- it is get at state, municipal and private universities and private sector of higher education dominates. Here is a brief description of some of the best universities in Japan.

University of Tokyo is a leading research university and one of Japan's most prestigious universities. In the ranking of the best universities in the world in 2009 according to the Times Higher Education it ranks 22nd, and Global universities ranking - 3rd place. University of Tokyo offers courses in almost all academic disciplines and conducts research across the spectrum of learning activities. Toke Dayhaku - 6 graduates won the Nobel Prize. It has 10 university departments, 11 research institutes, 11 post-graduate schools, 12 graduate schools.

All university facilities cover an area of . Tokyo University has cooperation agreements with over 200 institutions in 47 countries. Tokyo University is a member of several international organizations, including AEARU (Association of Research Universities of East Asia), APRU (Association of Pacific University) and IARU (International Alliance of Research Universities) [11].

Kyoto University - the second largest university in Japan, leading in research. In the Academic Ranking of leading universities «Global universities ranking» Kyoto University ranks 11th and in the rating «Times Higher Education-GS Work! University Rankings» - 25th.

The National University of Japan consists of 16 high schools, 10 departments, 21 research and education center and 13 research institutes. Academic Exchange Programme is implemented with 23 countries. Kyoto University is a member of international associations, including AEARU (Association of Research Universities of East Asia), APRU (Pacific Association of Universities). Currently 5 Kyoto University graduates are Nobel Prize winners [12].

The best private universities in Japan in the structure have primary, junior and senior high schools and even kindergartens. And if the applicant has successfully passed all the way from kindergarten to high school in a university system, he or she enters it without examination. Only when joining the best private university students in schools under the relevant quota, conduct competition "among the best of the best" to get a recommendation for university admission without examination, only by conducting interviews [1].

Management of education system in Japan is on three levels - national, Prefectural and municipal. Overall responsibility lies on the Ministry of Education as a public national authority management, which promotes the spread of general education, led by the education department and public schools, is the educational and cultural activities. It also manages other education authorities, advises and helps them. The main functions of the Ministry of Education: 1. The development and implementation of core curriculum, education management and financing. 2. Development regulations of the educational process, approval of textbooks for elementary and high school. 3. Provide funding for local government, management education departments and prefectures help them. 4. Exercise its powers in respect of national universities, junior colleges, technical colleges and other institutions. 5. Approval of the discovery of new public and private universities and junior colleges. 6. Provide general oversight of private higher education institutions and providing them with financial assistance.

4.3. The Main Function of the Department of Education

At the level of prefectures main body of the education department of education is of 5 members appointed by the governor of the prefecture and the nominations are approved at a meeting with the prefecture. Head of the Department directs and performs duties within his jurisdiction. The head is selected by the Department of Education and his candidacy is endorsed by Minister of Education.

The main functions of the department of education:

1. Prefectural Administration schools (mostly middle- aged and special), libraries, education centers and other educational institutions.

2. Implementation of long-term educational programs, physical education, organizing sports events.

3. Personnel, including the hiring and firing of teachers of municipal elementary and junior high schools.

4. Management of municipal departments of education, consulting and methodical works with them and helps.

The municipal education departments consist of 3-5 members appointed by the mayor or commissioner nominated by the municipality and the municipal council approves. Head of the department is elected from among its members and approved by Prefectural Department of Education. The municipal education departments have the following functions:

1. Management of municipal schools (mainly initial, middle and junior kindergartens), working with the public, organizing various educational activities at the local level.

2. Implementation of long-term educational programs, physical education and the organization of sporting events.

3. Selection of textbooks for use in public primary and junior secondary schools.

4. Consult on hiring and firing teachers of primary and junior secondary schools [[4], p. 115-116].

In Ukraine, there are three levels of public administration education:

- Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine - the highest level;

- Department of Education - Intermediate;

- Educational institutions where the educational activities take place - the third level.

Recently in Ukraine the network universities for teaching professions, educational and skill levels of higher pedagogical education changed. Teacher training in Japan has two educational levels: bachelor - master, in Ukraine – three: bachelor - specialist - master. But recently in Ukraine universities go to a two-cycle training of teachers with higher education bachelor - master. This is diversification of educational levels by training profile. [[13], p. 236].

5. Conclusion and Recommendation

Comparative analysis of the education of children and youth in Ukraine and Japan made it possible to identify similar approaches in the educational process (accumulation finest achievements of other countries and put them into practice in conjunction with their own cultural traditions, the structure of schools and universities (to some extent ) the use of credit- modular technology, organizational forms of educational process in the preparation of teachers (lectures, seminars, workshops), (the presence of different levels of training) and especially teacher training at universities in Japan, which are as follows: priority is given to primary school moral education and organizing extracurricular activities, maintaining and preserving cultural norms, values, customs, traditions and methods of development, imitation and copying - a characteristic feature of education in Japan, learning takes place on the edge of their capabilities; spreading theory of using computers to make adjustments in mental activity, in the development of creativity in Japanese, the dominance of the private nature of higher education, training of teaching staff in two educational levels: bachelor - master.


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