Education in Japan(Natalie Collor)
Summer vacation for most Japanese schools lasts between three and five weeks. When Japanese children hear about the length of summer vacation in other countries, they are often shocked at the long duration of this break. For example, most schools in the U.S. have at least two months off for summer break. Although the summer breaks in Japan may already seem short when compared to elsewhere, the government has decided to shorten it even more. Starting during the 2018-2019 school year, it has been decided by the Japanese government that public elementary, middle, and high schools will have a shortened summer break.
The specific dates and length of summer break will likely still vary according to the region, but the main idea is to shorten summer break by about five days in order to extend spring and fall breaks by a couple days to a ten-day break. The rationale behind this decision is to create a nationwide “Kid’s Week” during which working parents can also take days off from work and the whole family can go on trips together. Another belief is that having balanced breaks from school will allow students and teachers to establish more consistency at school.
Other changes to the curriculum and education system, such as the inclusion of English as a regular subject for 3rd and 4th grade elementary school students in 2020 as well as the English interview component to entrance exams in the same year, are thought to also benefit from this schedule change. In the coming months, local governments will meet to discuss these new changes and decide the specific dates of spring, summer, fall, and winter breaks according to their specific region.
- YOMIURI ONLINE「学校の夏休み、一部を春・秋に…9連休を想定」,2017/5/21. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/20170520-OYT1T50169.html?from=y10
- 会員限定有料記事 毎日新聞「１９年度から夏休み短縮 英語拡充などで」, 2017/3/24. https://mainichi.jp/articles/20170324/k00/00e/040/208000c