Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Crazy screaming junior high school students.

I have delayed writing about this for reasons that will become apparent when i leave Japan. But i wanted to write about the craziness that is "Entrance Exams" here in Japan.

So students who want to enter PUBLIC high schools here in Japan, have to take 2 days of tests to even be considered. One day is writing tests. English, Maths, Japanese, Science and Social Studies tests all in one day. Science and Social Sutdies combined they get 40 mins and then the other subjects are combined in a 50 minute test. The students look exhausted at the end of the day.

Then the next day is interview day. Three students are put in a room with two teachers. About 15 - 20 mins and the three students are interviewed in turn during this time.

Then the staff meet and talk about which students should be allowed into the school based on the test and interview results. It is a brutal process because some students miss out and then have to come back for the second round. AND if they still dont get into the school, then they have to go to a private school which costs their parents lots of money. So it is completely the opposite in Japan. PUBLIC schools are the sort after ones.

And now the screaming comes in..... unlike in western countries where private letters are sent out telling students if they got into the school, Japanese school post a huge sign with student's registration numbers on it. So the students all gather in front of the school on a specific morning and then the staff put the paper up and there is screaming and crying and craziness. It was amazing. The boys were jumping up and down and hugging each other and the girls were crying and hugging each other. There were mothers at the school with their children, who also cried and hugged other mothers. It was a sight.

Another amazing thing about this was that the staff were so prepared for all of this. I mean there were teachers with sticky tape already cut and waitinig on their fingers to hand it up to the teachers putting the sign up. So precise with everything. It was so strange to me. We would just do it as it comes but the staff knew how it all had to be done and they almost over prepared for it. An interesting insight i think into the differing mindsets of our cultures. Aussies would just put the sign up in their own time and no planned method (generally anyway). Japanese had it planned right down to who would hold the ladder and who had the sticky tape already cut.

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