Education: The Test Must Go On

Japanese students are driven by shiken jigoku

Most Western nations, including the U.S., envy Japan the benefits of its rigorous educational system. More than 90% of Japanese students graduate from twelfth grade (in contrast to 75% in the U.S.), despite a demanding academic agenda. By the end of third grade, children must master 881 of 2,000 essential Japanese ideograms; by sixth grade they should know 1,000 more. During high school, the Japanese must cover far more math and science than their American counterparts. By the time they take their college entrance exams, students are...

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