Japan to train young scientists by integrating secondary and university education programs: sources


Plans are underway to help talented Japanese math and science students become top researchers by entering some of the country’s high school and university programs from the next academic year, sources said on Monday.

The move, according to people familiar with the matter, comes as concerns grow about a decline in Japanese scientific research amid the government’s budget difficulties.

As part of a system designed to provide cohesive specialist education, teachers will be able to teach in high schools and high school students will be able to visit university labs, the sources said.

In the university admissions system, special slots for talented students could be created based on common standards established by high schools and colleges, they said.

The project will start as part of the Super Science High Schools framework, which offers advanced math and science education. About 200 schools have been designated by the Ministry of Education as “science super high schools”, which develop educational materials and are closely linked to universities and private companies.

Shinichi Mizokami, professor of education at Kyoto University, praised the plan, saying starting early is the key to raising top researchers.

He said that under the current system, even students who take special math and science education programs at designated high schools cannot immediately move on to full research upon entering university, because they would initially be required to take liberal arts courses.

Mizokami attributed the problem to the “unwillingness of universities to accept” promising students. He urged the Ministry of Education to ensure that the new system also covers talented students who are not also studying at these designated institutions.

The new system could potentially allow students to skip grades and enter college before graduation, and will be beneficial for universities looking to recruit talented people at an early stage.

The ministry aims to secure funding for the program from the fiscal year 2019 budget and solicit institutions across the country, select a model case in the first year and expand it to multiple locations in subsequent years. , the sources said.

It also provides for central universities and secondary schools to form a council to decide on a cohesive education program and require them to jointly apply for the project.

In the university admission process, the ministry also plans to select students more on the basis of interviews and recommendations than on conventional entrance exams.

While Japan has produced many Nobel laureates in recent years, they have been recognized for research conducted decades ago, and the laureates themselves have repeatedly expressed concern about the future of the Japanese research.

The British scientific journal Nature said in 2017 that Japan’s scientific output had not kept pace with other leading countries, risking its position among the world’s elite.

Publications by Japanese authors in 68 high-quality natural science journals fell more than 8% between 2012 and 2016, compared with increases of 48% for Chinese authors and 17% for UK authors, he said. he indicates.

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