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July 28, 2003

Educational Quotas

60% of Tokyo's public high schools now set numerical targets, following regulations introduced this year by the metropolitan board of education. For example, of the 207 schools in the area, 120 set a target for the number of graduates who go to third-level education. Hibiya High School in Chiyoda ward has a target of 20 graduates entering the most prestigious schools, such as Tokyo, Hitotsubashi and Kyoto Universities, with a further 100 making it into such institutions as Waseda, Keio or Sophia Universities. The school also dictates the number of home-study hours, 3 a day for first-years, 4 for second-years and 5 for seniors.

Other schools have set such goals as full employment for those looking to work after graduation or a 30% annual reduction in the number of students who transfer or drop out of school. While many parents support the approach, others question whether public education should follow the same path as "yobiko" or "juku" cram schools. It also seems to be somewhat at odds with the less academic focus recently introduced in elementary schools.

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