Teaching: A World View
Overworked: Teaching in Japan
Education in Japan
Japan has an oversupply of teacher candidates. Higher education institutions for training teachers must have their syllabuses approved by the national ministry. Teacher candidates must pass a national exam to get into a teaching program, complete their bachelor’s, including practical training, and then pass a locally administered hiring exam with multiple levels, including a demonstration lesson. Candidates are ranked on a list by exam score and hired in score order. In 2013, only one in five candidates got hired. Candidates who aren’t hired must retake the exam to go back on the list. A teacher is supposed to be paired with a mentor the first year. There are various levels of teachers — temporary or contract vs. permanent. Pay is similar across the nation. Concerned after World War II about a potential shortage of teachers, Japan mandated that teachers be paid better than comparable civil servants. That margin has eroded over time. Japan’s teachers with 15 years of service make $47,561 in U.S. dollars, well above the $40,569 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average.
Read more in our June issue.
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