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Education In Asia

( Originally Published 1912 )


Prior to 1905 there was no system of elementary education. In that year China began the foundations of a modern system based upon occidental models. The imperial decree of September 3, 1905, abolished the historic system of State examinations and outlined a series of four grades of schools: (1) primary, of five years; (2) common, of four years; (3) middle, of five years ; and (4) provincial college, of two or more years. Overtopping all is the University of Peking, an imperial institution with a large proportion of western instruction. " China went into this great work of the education of a quarter of the population of the globe without proper prevision or provision."Nevertheless, elementary and secondary schools are magically springing up throughout the Empire. In the province of Chefu there are a dozen middle schools and colleges at Tientsin, Shantung, and other centers.


Infant Education. The first kindergarten was established in Tokyo, in 1876. Although there are some 40,000 children in kindergartens, these do not form part of the national educational system. Says Professor Kikuchi : " The kindergarten is still a question with us, some educationalists contending that it is prejudicial to the development of children, while others contend that there can be no such prejudice if it is properly conducted."

The elementary schools are of two grades (1) the ordinary schools, taking children over six, and covering a six-year course; and (2) the higher schools with a course of two, occasionally three, years. The first school for the blind and the deaf and dumb was established in Kyoto, in 1878. Today there are several of these institutions, both public and private.

The secondary schools are of two grades, the middle schools and the higher schools. The middle schools follow the six years of elementary, and give a course of five years a few add a year to this. The higher schools follow the middle school course and add three years, preparing for the university.

The universities are two Tokyo and Kyoto, both imperial, comprising several separate colleges with three- or four-year courses. There are also post-graduate courses. Tokyo enrolls about 6000 students.

Vocational education is given much attention. There are many technical supplementary or apprentice schools, enrolling pupils who have completed the ordinary elementary curriculum. By far the greatest number of these specialize in agriculture, the others dealing with fisheries, commerce, and technological subjects. Of secondary grade there are two groups, known as class A and B. In agriculture, these give to farmers a scientific and practical training in class A, and in class B a more elementary course of instruction. Technological and commercial schools are similarly classified. The courses are of three or four years, and the admission requirement is the completion of two years of the higher elementary or of the middle school. Vocational instruction of higher grade is given to graduates of the middle schools in three special colleges. (These are not to be confused with the colleges of the university, two in commerce and one in agriculture.) Over one quarter million students are enrolled in the vocational institutions of all grades.

In the elementary schools coeducation is usual.

Beyond that point the education of boys and of girls becomes separate and distinct. There are high schools for girls, giving graduates of the ordinary schools a four-year course with supplementary courses of one or two years in some schools. Beyond this there is no governmental provision for the higher education of women. There is one " so-called " women's university at Tokyo.

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