"Effort is rewarded" and "It is meaningful to work hard" is a royal road theory that has been said in Japan for a long time. For decades after the war, Japan has made dramatic progress under this unique “gambalism”. Of course, this hard work is not a mistake, and it requires effort. However, it can be said that this is a spiritual theory that was successful because it was a Japanese society at that time, which was made up of a rare balance of "100 million total middle class."
The world that surrounds us today is full of problems that cannot be dealt with by personal hard work. Infectious diseases, abnormal weather, disparity society…. I'm seriously alive, but I'm doing my best, but I'm just asking the heavens why this is the case. With the introduction of IT, the future will be even more unpredictable. What is the "education" necessary for such an opaque era? This book goes deep into educational issues in Japan, centering on the reform of university entrance examinations in 2020.
For a long time, university entrance examinations have been conducted with an emphasis on academic ability as a result of "efforts", but this reform will change the course. Of course, basic scholastic ability is required, but various abilities such as idea, communication, and coordination are evaluated. Of course, "power to work" will be included in this.
The "education" that we have received must reflect the values of the times. It will be meaningless to follow past "successful experiences" in the future. You can understand it well by reading this book. It is a good book to read even if you are not an educator or a guardian.
Main points of this book
In the university entrance examination reform that will be implemented in 2020, the academic ability examination based on the conventional “effort” will be focused on the question of “independence/diversity/collaboration”.
From the latter half of the 2000s, the number of students at the university exceeded the number of applicants, and it became the time when students chose the university.
As the world becomes an online society, the disparity in information and knowledge between regions is disappearing, but the disparity in "physical and cultural capital" that depends on the environment in which they were born is growing. Since future entrance examinations will ask about physical cultural capital, it is necessary to switch to educational policies that foster the physical cultural capital of children.
University entrance examination in modern Japan
I don't know the future
Education is the act of giving children the abilities they need to live in the upcoming future. The forthcoming future may have been predictable to some extent until the first half of the 20th century. However, it is impossible to predict the future. No one knows what profession the children will take in the future and what skills they will need.
The most obvious example is English education. Forty years ago, a teacher from a prep school that the author attended said, "It's no use learning English because automatic translation will develop in the next few years." This prophecy went wrong, but no one can laugh at him.
From the middle of the 21st century, Chinese and Russian may become more important. With the progress of automatic translation, it may be required to have the communication ability to convey subtle nuances with facial expressions and gestures while using it effectively as a tool. English may continue to dominate the world. I don't really know the future.
University entrance examination reform
In January 2021, the current center test will be abolished and the common test will start.
This college entrance examination reform is ambitious to change the curriculum of high school and college classes. What was asked there was a new view of "scholastic ability".
In 2007, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology revised the School Education Law and made a new proposal called "three elements of academic ability". These three factors are (1) basic knowledge and skills, (2) ability such as thinking ability, judgment ability, and expressive ability, and (3) attitude toward learning independently (independence, diversity, collaborativeness ) Are three. These are not in parallel, but in the order of (1)→(2)→(3) from the bottom of the triangle.
What is required in this reform of the entrance examination is the secondary examination imposed by each university after the common examination. "(2) Thinking power, judgment power, and expression power" or "(3) Working on learning independently It is a test that measures "attitude". Then, what kind of content is the test that asks for "independence, diversity, and collaboration"?
Example of Shikoku Gakuin University
Here, we will introduce the university entrance examinations that the author has considered and practiced.
The author is a visiting professor and a special assistant to the president, Shikoku Gakuin University is a private university in Zentsuji City, Kagawa Prefecture with a total of 1200 students. A major (major) system, which is rare in Japan, has been introduced, and after the first year of liberal arts education, from the second year, you can go beyond the faculties and choose your favorite from all majors. It is an advanced university that has the only theater course in the Chugoku and Shikoku districts and has been implementing the new system entrance examination ahead of schedule from FY2016.
The new entrance exam for the drama course is to divide into groups of 6 to 7 people and create a discussion drama with the given material. The criterion for this test is whether you can do something with the members. The purpose is to identify the essence of the student, not the amount of knowledge and information that the student has.
The test results are recorded as individual medical records, and even after admission, the homeroom teacher sees the growth of the students for one year based on these medical records. At Shikoku Gakuin University, the entrance examination is regarded as the starting point for observing the growth of learning for four years.
As the population declines, small local universities will not be able to dramatically increase the number of applicants. Like Shikoku Gakuin University, there is no choice but to make steady publicity while showing the characteristics of the university.
University education in modern Japan
The arrival of the university entrance era
Since the latter half of the 2000s, the total number of university applicants in Japan has fallen below the total number of universities. In other words, it is an era in which anyone who does not have a commitment can enter the university.
In addition, at present, 40% of all private universities have somehow broken capacity. In addition, there are reports that nearly 80 corporations operating private universities may go bankrupt.
In some rural areas, the existence of universities has stopped population decline. Therefore, some local governments have acquired private universities and made them public. Under such circumstances, since the 2000s, many universities ran to lock in students with "no-entry admission" such as AO entrance exams and recommendation entrance exams. Currently, it is said that more than 50% of all private university students are eligible for this "no-entry admission".
Highly capitalized universities get large-scale publicity and secure students. During the summer vacation, the professor may even bring gifts to greet high school career guidance teachers. Now is the time for students to choose colleges, not for colleges.
"Who to learn with" rather than "what to learn"
Currently, Harvard University, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Kyoto University in Japan, etc. are starting to publish the lecture contents on the Internet. Many of them are available to everyone for free. Originally, you can see classes on the Internet that you won through a tough examination war and you cannot take without paying high tuition fees.
Once upon a time in Japan, there was knowledge and information that could only be obtained by going to Tokyo or Kyoto. Only those who have access to it can enjoy the benefits throughout their lives. However, in the age of the Internet, the cost of obtaining knowledge and information has decreased rapidly in terms of time and money.
In such times, it is still meaningful to study at Harvard and MIT. Rather, there is significance to the university only there. What is important is "who to learn" rather than "what to learn". Universities are asked not only about the quality of students, but also about what kind of “community of learning” to create, including faculty and staff.
Even in Japan, unilateral lessons in large classrooms as they once were are disappearing. Instead, efforts are being made to activate the lesson, such as incorporating group discussions. In fact, the Ministry of Education also requires universities to make active learning, and this effort is the axis of university evaluation, but there are also major problems here.
To ensure diversity
One of the most reformed national universities in Japan is Tokyo Institute of Technology. It is known for active learning, such as special lectures by experts, discussions after receiving them, and reading meetings in classes of about 20 people.
However, Tokyo Institute of Technology also has its own worries, which is called the “8, 7 and 6 problems of Tokyo Tech”. This is a problem that more than 80% of students are boys, nearly 70% are from the Kanto area, and 60% are from junior and senior high school. With such a biased structure, various opinions do not come out even during discussions in the class.
If the university entrance examination system reform adopts a unique problem that is different from the conventional one, the voices such as "Can you maintain fairness" and "How do you evaluate properly?" But universities are no longer asking for traditional "fairness." The entrance examination must be fair, but strict "fairness" is not required.
In the past entrance examinations, they have been evaluated for their efforts. However, those who are not good at efforts but who have ideas and those who have high coordinating ability should also be evaluated.
[Must-read point!] Physical cultural capital and entrance examination
What is physical cultural capital
The university entrance exams in the future will be transformed into exams that ask the “ground level,” which cannot be overwhelmed by the preparation for a year or two. The "ground" is called "physical cultural capital" in sociology.
Physical cultural capital is sense, etiquette including aesthetic sense and sensitivity, taste, communication ability, etc., and can be paraphrased as "power to succeed with various people." It may be called "liberal arts" in a broad sense.
Physical cultural capital also includes the lack of prejudice against race, ethnicity, gender or sexual minority. For example, suppose there was a boy student who grew up in a family with a strong sense of male and female decency and went on to a consistent high school for boys. If he tells the girl even a single word to the girl in a group work-type entrance examination, she will fail on the spot.
In the past, such a point did not affect the pass/fail status. But from now on, it should become the standard. This means that students who cannot participate in active learning or who cannot discuss on an equal footing will be paid in advance, no matter how high their traditional academic ability is.
Differences in physical and cultural capital
Physical cultural capital is decided by about 20 years old. The most obvious example is "taste". If you become accustomed to eating thick-tasting foods as a child, the taste buds on your tongue will collapse and you will not be able to tell the difference in the taste. Similarly, it is said that the senses of sound, rhythm, and color are the ability to be formed relatively early.
These abilities almost naturally “get in” early in life. And it is thought that there is no choice but to touch a lot of "real things" and "good things" to grow them. You have to imbue your senses with your body as early as possible.
In the online age, you can get knowledge and information wherever you live. Therefore, on the contrary, there is a big difference in the part that you can only experience it live. In that case, Tokyo is overwhelmingly advantageous in many fields.
Educational disparities can be found at schools, but disparities in "physical and cultural capital" cannot even be found at schools. If parents don't go to museums and concerts, their children won't go. Without public support, the disparity in physical and cultural capital will continue to widen.
To solve the entrance examination reform dilemma
In Japan, the disparities in children's physical and cultural capital are rapidly expanding due to both regional and economic disparities in culture. This disparity cannot be helped by the efforts of the person himself. On the other hand, the time has come for physical cultural capital to be directly connected to university and employment.
The university entrance examination reform that will be implemented in fiscal 2020 is a move toward entrance examinations where traditional “effort” is hard to pay off. This is not wrong from the perspective of ensuring diversity. This is because people who are not good at working hard but who have great ideas and who can calm people for some reason are necessary for a sustainable society.
However, if we try to revise the university selection method for that purpose, we will be asked about physical and cultural capital, and the disparity will become clearer. This is the dilemma of this entrance examination reform. If left untouched, the gap will increase further.
There are two realistic options for this. First, return to the traditional entrance exam, which measures your effort. However, this would not allow the university to have diversity and weaken its international competitiveness.
Next, while advancing the entrance examination reform, we will switch to an educational policy that fosters the physical and cultural capital of children. To that end, local governments need to integrate educational and cultural policies, and enhance culturally inclusive policies, especially for the poor.
In any case, it's important to remember that this admissions reform is about ensuring diversity.
Recommendation of reading
Now that the university is required to be competitive internationally, the survival of the university will be jeopardized unless it becomes an attractive school that is selected by the best talent in the world. Although there was a problem with the conventional academic disparity test, it seems that this reform of the entrance examination is a double-edged sword that can be said to be an extension of the disparity society. I felt that how to proceed with education and entrance examination reforms while bottoming up is an issue for the future.
The chapter explaining how to interact with AI, which could not be fully introduced in the summary, is also very interesting. I hope you will read this book and think about the future of education.