Journal directory listing - Volume 59 (2014) - Journal of Research in Education Sciences【59(1)】March (Special Issue: 12-Year Basic Education)

(Special Issue) Policies for the Diversification of Upper Secondary Education in Japan: Educational Reform Concepts and Their Implementation in Featured High Schools Author: Yu-Fei Liu(Center of Teacher Education, Chinese Culture University)

Vol.&No.:Vol. 59, No. 1
Date:March 2014


After 30 years spent planning and designing a 12-Year Basic Education policy, the Ministry of Education finally announced in 2011 that the policy would be implemented in 2014. However, despite the government’s promotion of the policy for three years, it is still inducing intense disputes and controversy. The public is primarily concerned about the arrangement of the entrance examinations, outnumbered-applicant ranking criteria, and featured high schools; these three controversial points are related to enrollment and school administration. In particular, the public tends to directly link featured high schools with traditional, so-called “elite” high schools. Thus, the public has focused on school enrollment while overlooking the importance of school administration.
In the postwar period, Japan implemented diversification policies for upper secondary education twice: in the 1960s and the 1990s. In the first phase, general education and vocational education were separated. In the second phase, featured high schools were promoted. Following the emergence of the comprehensive course in the 1990s, the government of Japan aggressively promoted special designations among high schools regardless of whether they were public, private, general, or specialized, including the Super Science High School, Super English Language High School, Becoming a Specialist, and Japanese Dual System designations. These designations were intended to develop schools’ characteristics, innovation, localization, and diversification, as well as to help schools implement featured curricula to become featured schools. The implementation of the featured high schools policy released teachers and students from existing curricula, leading them to develop creative teaching materials; it also provided junior high school students with multiple choices for secondary school. Moreover, it facilitated cooperation between local enterprises and high schools, and balanced development between urban and rural areas.
This study suggests that for the 12-Year Basic Education policy, building featured high schools is not the same as eliminating elite high schools. Furthermore, it should not be confined to academic features. Although the enrollment strategy specified in the 12-Year Basic Education policy must be modified, the reform direction of the 12-Year Basic Education policy is in line with that implemented in Japan, and deserves recognition. Therefore, this study analyzed the development of policies for the diversification of upper secondary education in Japan through a literature review and a field survey. This study examined education reform concepts and their implementation in featured high schools, as well as school administrations. This study is intended as a reference for the implementation of the 12-Year Basic Education policy in Taiwan.

Keywords:12-Year Basic Education, upper secondary education in Japan, diversification policies, featured high schools, educational reforms

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APA FormatLiu, Y.-F. (2014). Policies for the Diversification of Upper Secondary Education in Japan: Educational Reform Concepts and Their Implementation in Featured High Schools. Journal of Research in Education Sciences, 59(1), 141-170. doi:10.6209/JORIES.2014.59(1).05