Schooling in Changing Japan
Social Inequality, Transnationalism and Multiculturalisms
By Kaori Okano
Routledge – 2014 – 224 pages
This book is an up-to-date critical examination of education in Japan by an author of the widely read and comprehensive Education in Contemporary Japan: Diversity and Inequality (1999, Cambridge University Press). In the last two decades Japan has faced slow economic growth, a low birth rate and an aging and increasingly multi-ethnic population. In education we have seen responses to these challenges in national and local educational policies, as well as in school-level practices.
The book discusses these significant developments and raises the following questions: Why have these developments emerged and how will they affect the youth and society as a whole? How have schools been responding to transnationalism and an increasingly multi-ethnic student population? In what ways have the gaps in educational achievement between groups altered, and why? How have these trends affected the existing patterns of diversity and inequality in educational participation and achievement in terms of class, ethnicity and gender?
Going beyond changing educational policies, the book illuminates cumulative adjustments in the daily practice of schooling, as well as how various groups in society make sense of these changes. Written in a highly accessible style, each chapter starts with a story of school-level experience to illustrate how these are affected by, and collectively impact on, the policies and society as a whole.
1. Introduction 2. Institutional system and practice of education in 2012 3. Directions of change: diversity, local autonomy and accountability 4. Responding to an increasingly multi-ethnic student population 5. Diversity in experiences and preferences, and in social inequality 6. New roles for the old practice: the case of compulsory school lunches and education about eating (shokuiku) 7. Relationship between regular schooling and other forms of education 8. Conclusions
Kaori H. Okano is Professor of Asian Studies in the School of Social Sciences, La Trobe University. She researches and writes in the field of sociology/anthropology of education, youth, women and multiculturalism in Asia (especially in Japan); and comparative education.