Education in Japan (Natalie Collor)
Once the new calendar year begins in Japan, and sometimes even before, many middle and high school students’ minds are occupied with thoughts of one thing: university entrance exams. A previous post has addressed the specifics of the exam schedule and the vigorous preparation these students undergo to score well on the standardized exams. However, an additional variable at play in exam season is, in fact, influenza.
Not only is the number of third-year middle and high school students who receive the vaccine more than any other grade level, but it is also very likely that these students do not receive the vaccine every year. Students and parents in Japan know the importance of being well during the exam, not to mention the months leading up to it; therefore, they do all they can to prevent contracting the virus by getting the vaccine. In some cases, all members in a family are said to get the vaccine in order to protect the examinee. News programs and school nurses also encourage students to wear masks and wash hands regularly as other preventative measures.
Vaccines are not a guarantee, however, and as the importance of entrance exams grows, so does the necessity of students being able to take the exam in a healthy state. Despite taking all the preventative measures leading up to the exam, some students still end up sick during the exam day. A makeup test day, which would certainly give those students unable to take the exam due to illness a second chance, is an idea that has recently been implemented by high schools in some regions. Although makeup test days are not available for every high school, this special option for ill students may improve their chances of doing well on the test and gaining admission to the high school of their choice. Each high school offering a makeup test date likely announces the date ahead of time and a corresponding process to follow to register for said test.
Although a similar makeup test day equivalent does not yet exist for college entrance exams, one can only wonder, given the extremely competitive nature of the exams and the unpredictability of contracting illness, if this option will exist in the future.
- The Japan Times NEWS 「66都道府県のうち11県、大都市のみが2016年に高校入試のメイクアップテストを実施した：調査」,2017/02/06.https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/06/national/11-66-prefectures-major-cities-held-makeup-tests-high-school-entrance-exams-2016-survey/#.WkCy01RdLVo
- OBS ニュース「インフルエンザ流行拡大の恐れ」,2018/01/17. http://www.e-obs.com/news/detail.php?id=01170039988&day=20180117