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"Educational systems of Singapore and Japan Comparison Essay"
Educational systems of Singapore and Japan Comparison Essay
Veronica Gardner
In the comparison of the educational system of Singapore and Japan, profound similarities can be found in its general administrative structure, yet upon closer examination, the Singapore system still differs significantly from that of Japan's in many extra-curricular aspects. A clear distinction between both systems is not easy as boundaries are blurred and the basis for judgment on which system is better may be subjective.

Compulsory education exists for both systems, nine years for Japan and six years for Singapore. This form of mandatory education has accounted for the high literacy rate in both countries, moreover, Singapore's system is just as heavily reliant on the entrance examination system as Japan with a Singapore student having to pass the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), GCE 'O' Levels and later the GCE 'A' Levels for those who wish to progress to university from two-year junior colleges. The exam hell so often depicted in Japanese school life is also applicable to a Singapore student as juku schools are replaced by tuition and remedial classes in a local context. The aim of it all is to obtain places in top-ranking secondary schools and junior colleges and the idea that attending top schools will put one in a better light in the competition for jobs and university vacancies has filtered down to primary level in much the same way as in Japan. Parents compete for top primary schools during enrollment days and the average age of kids attending tuition and enrichment lessons, such as abacus classes, are getting younger over the years.

Both systems are founded on the basis of meritocracy whereby only the smartest makes it to top elite schools. However, beside brains, family background is another factor in deciding entry. In this sense, I find the phenomenon far more pronounced in Japan than in Singapore....

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