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August 06, 2009

Richer children do better academically

yen.jpegResearch carried out by the Ministry of Education on sixth graders at 100 elementary schools across the country shows that children of richer parents perform much better on tests that children of less affluent parents. The Daily Yomiuri reports that in Japanese language and arithmetic tests, 'those children whose parents' annual income is between 12 million yen and 15 million yen obtained the best average percentages of correct answers, more than 20 percentage points higher than those of children whose parents' annual income is less than 2 million yen.'

The Daily Yomiuri went on to report that 'when asked what efforts they make to educate their children, many parents of children with higher scores said they read picture books to their children when they were very little, take them to museums or galleries and talk to them about current news stories. Of the answers, reading picture books or talking about the news was found to be the most effective way to help improve children's academic achievements regardless of income, according to the study. The survey also looked at the role schools play. Efforts made by 20 schools to instruct students to offer a fulsome greeting to those they meet or provide training courses to teachers were found to apparently help students improve their academic performance regardless of their parents' income.'

The survey also found that the amount of money parents spend on extra education, such as cram schools, makes a significant difference. Children whose parents spend more than 50,000 yen a month on extra education got 71.2% of the math questions in the test correct. Children whose parents do not pay for extra education got 44.4% correct.

Hiroaki Mimizuka of Ochanomizu University and a member of the panel that carried out the research, said: 'Since the correlation (between income and academic performance) has become clear, the education ministry will be required to make a policy designed to improve the situation.'

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