You may wonder how does the school system in Japan work? When and at what age does school start? When does it end? For those in Japan, you may be trying to decide if your child should attend a Japanese school or an international school. Our guide to Japan’s education system will help you choose what type of school is best for your child or at the very least satisfy your curiosity.
The length of compulsory education in Japan is 9 years, a combination of Elementary School (6 years) and Junior High School (3 years). The Japanese school year starts on April 1 and ends on March 31 of the following year.
Foreign students are not required to participate in Japan’s compulsory education (Grade 1-9). However, they do have the option to enroll in public (local) elementary or junior high school, as long as their address is registered with the administrative office.
Although high school is not compulsory, approximately 98% of students choose to continue their education by attending high school. After high school, students with either go to university, technical college, trade school, junior college, or find employment.
"Guide for foreign students to start school" and "Guidebook for Starting School" are available on the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology website.
** Attention **
Not all international schools in Japan are accredited by the Ministry of Education. It is important to find out if your child would obtain a sufficient certificate from them upon graduation from the school.
You can also research in advance to see if the school is accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), CIS (Council of international Schools), ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) or IB (International Baccalaureate) etc. so that when you move back to your country or move to another country your child is still able to continue studying at the school of their choice.
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