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Education Reform in Japan


  • Randall S. Jones



While Japan has achieved outstanding scores on the PISA exams, further improving educational outcomes is important to sustain growth in the face of rapid population ageing. The government should step up investment in early childhood education and care and integrate childcare and kindergarten to improve its quality, while allowing some diversity in the type of institutions. Upgrading tertiary education, in part through stronger competition and internationalisation, is also important to increase human capital and boost the role of universities in innovation. Given the serious fiscal situation, reforms to further raise the efficiency of educational spending per student, which is above the OECD average for public and private outlays combined, are needed. The large share of private education spending, which accounts for one-third of the total, places heavy burdens on families, thereby discouraging fertility, and creates inequality in educational opportunities and outcomes. Reducing dependence on private after-school educational institutions known as juku would help reduce the burden and enhance fairness. This Working Paper relates to the 2011 OECD Economic Survey of Japan ( La réforme de l'enseignement au Japon Le Japon obtient d’excellents résultats aux tests du PISA, mais il est néanmoins important d’améliorer encore les performances de l’enseignement afin de soutenir la croissance face au vieillissement rapide de la population. Les pouvoirs publics devraient accroître les investissements dans les services d’éducation et d’accueil des jeunes enfants, et regrouper les centres d’accueil et les maternelles pour en améliorer la qualité, tout en préservant une certaine diversité entre les types d’établissements. Il importe également de rendre l’enseignement supérieur plus efficace, notamment en renforçant la concurrence et l’internationalisation, afin de développer le capital humain et d’augmenter la contribution des universités à l’innovation. Compte tenu des graves difficultés budgétaires du pays, il est nécessaire de lancer des réformes visant à améliorer l’efficacité des dépenses unitaires d’éducation, lesquelles dépassent (dépenses privées et publiques confondues) la moyenne de l’OCDE. Le niveau élevé des dépenses privées d’éducation, qui représentent un tiers de l’ensemble, fait peser une lourde charge sur les familles – ce qui freine la natalité – et crée des inégalités en termes de perspectives et de retombées de l’enseignement. Réduire le recours aux instituts privés de soutien scolaire après la classe, appelés juku, contribuerait à diminuer les coûts pour les ménages et à renforcer l’égalité des chances. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l’Étude économique de l’OCDE du Japon, 2011 (

Suggested Citation

  • Randall S. Jones, 2011. "Education Reform in Japan," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 888, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:888-en

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    activité des femmes; contrats à durée déterminée; dispatched workers; dualism; dualisme; employment protection; female employment; fertility rate; fixed-term contracts; formation professionnelle; Japan; Japanese economy; Japon; labour force participation rates; labour market; marché du travail; non-regular workers; older workers; part-time workers; protection de l'emploi; taux de fécondité; taux d’activité; travailleurs intérimaires; travailleurs non réguliers; travailleurs à temps partiel; travailleurs âgés; vocational training; work-life balance; équilibre entre travail et vie familiale;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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