Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education - Lessons from PISA for Japan
For decades Japan has remained at or near the top of international assessments of student learning; and in the past decade, students in Japan have become more engaged in learning. However, the government aspires to improve learning outcomes even further. Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons from PISA for Japan focuses on how Japan is reforming its education system not only to produce better learning outcomes, but to equip students with the skills they need to navigate through the unpredictable labour market of the future and to participate in society as active citizens.
This is the second in a series of reports examining how education systems are handling the challenge of preparing their students for a world of interconnected populations, rapid technological change, and instantaneous availability of vast amounts of information. Like the first volume, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons from PISA for the United States, this report presents examples from other countries with consistently high-performing education systems or countries that, by redesigning policies and practices, have been able to improve their education outcomes, as measured by the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the world’s most comprehensive and rigorous survey of students’ skills and attitudes towards learning.
The Great East Earthquake in March 2011 brought human tragedies and unparalleled destruction over Japan. But it also revealed the unmatched commitment and capacity of the Japanese people to address the challenges and to build a new future for the country.
Education will be the foundation for this future. The high value Japan has traditionally placed on education and the unwavering belief of its citizens that all children can succeed have fuelled Japan’s rapid economic rise already over many decades. The Japanese success story is based on world class educational standards.
But as the demand for skills in Japan’s society is changing, continued success will depend on moving beyond providing more of the same education. Continued reform of the curriculum will be essential, in ways that shift the focus among students from reproducing educational content towards strengthening their capacity to extrapolate from what they know and apply their knowledge in challenging situations. The latest PISA assessment shows that Japan has made a promising start, but the following challenges need to be addressed.