Posts Tagged ‘tuition’

In Japan, you get the education you (the consumer) pay for

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

All in the family: National cram school Kawai Juku joins forces with local cram school Tokyo Shingaku Seminar for some educational synergy

Last week, the Organization for Economic Cooperation released a list that ranked the 31 member countries with “comparable data” in terms of public spending on education as a percentage of gross domestic product. Japan came in last at 3.3 percent. The average percentage was 5.0, with Norway at number one with 7.3 percent. However, in terms of private spending as a proportion of all expenditures on education, Japan came in third out of 28 OECD member countries with comparable data, at 33.6 percent. Only South Korea and Chile were higher.

These findings were based on data from 2008, which means they don’t take into consideration recent changes implemented by the Democratic Party of Japan. The most relevant change in this regard is the government’s decision to waive tuition for high school students by paying subsidies to local governments. High school is not mandatory in Japan, and even public high schools require fees of some sort. These subsidies will probably change the OECD’s rankings when it compiles a list for public spending in 2011, but it may not have any effect on the list for private spending. One of the reasons the DPJ pushed the tuition-free policy is because the party recognizes that in the current job climate even entry-level, minimum-wage service employment requires a high school diploma. The days when junior high school graduates were solicited for factory jobs and other blue collar work is long gone. But compared to many of the other costs that parents pay to have their children educated, public high school tuition is almost like a drop in the bucket. According to education ministry figures for 2006, the average public high school student paid ¥112,000 a year in tuition, which is certainly high for lower income families; but at the same time, the average public high school student also paid ¥176,000 a year for outside cram schools, or juku. Altogether, parents paid on average ¥520,000 a year in education costs for a child if he or she went to public high school, which is about half the cost for private high school students, who paid on average ¥1,045,000 a year (including ¥785,000 tuition and ¥260,00 for juku). Continue reading about spending of private education →

Cost of education a drag on the economy

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Save it for later: Japan Post's school expenses insurance plan

A survey carried out by the Japan Finance Corporation has been getting a lot of attention in the media this past week. JFC asked 5,400 households that receive government education loans about the amount of money they spend on education for their children. The respondents on average answered that they have spent 37.6 percent of their income on education in 2010. The average percentage in 2009 was 33.7.

One of the reasons for the percentage rise is that household incomes themselves have dropped, from an average ¥5.92 million in 2009 to ¥5.72 million this year. What’s particularly shocking is that the burden rises considerably as household income drops. For households making between ¥2 million and ¥4 million a year, education costs account for an average 56.5 percent of household incomes. Last year it was 48.3 percent.

The JFC says that tuition, textbook prices and transportation costs to and from school have gone up in the last year. The average student in 2010 will spend ¥10.6 million from the point he or she sits for a high school entrance exam until university graduation. That’s an increase of ¥520,000 over the average in 2009.

Respondents said they are cutting back on other expenses in order to cover education costs, with 63 percent saying they have reduced spending on leisure and travel, 51 percent forgoing eating out and 41 percent eliminating “pocket money” (kozukai) for the adults in the family. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan, of course, made public high schools tuition-free last spring, one of the few campaign pledges they’ve kept so far, but education remains a serious drag on household spending and, by extension, on the economy as a whole.

Education is a huge industry in Japan but the trickle-down benefits aren’t very clear. However, the benefits to education executives are clear and can be understood by that recent scandal involving Teikyo University, whose late chancellor, Shoichi Okinaga, was found to have stashed a cool ¥1.5 billion in a bank in Liechtenstein without telling Japanese tax authorities. Obviously, the education biz is good for some people.


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