Chemical Education in Japan Version 2


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The reform of the educational system began shortly after World War II ended in August 15, 1945, and proceeded through various stages. Due to the occupation period, the early reform stage was strongly guided and controlled by people sent from the United States. The main features adopted were co-education and the 6-3-3-4 system with the first nine years compulsory (See Fig. 2.2.1). The entire system was single-track and oriented towards general education compared to the pre-war multi-track system (Fig. 1.2.1). The 6-3-3-4 system began in April of 1947.

The school year in Japan begins April 1, and ends March 31, the following year. This school calendar remained unchanged despite the turmoil caused by the war and subsequent reform. Incidentally, the fiscal year of the government, public corporations, and many private enterprises in Japan is identical to this school year. It should also be mentioned that ever since this reform, until very recently, there has been a strong consensus in Japanese society that every student should progress according to the system, even if he or she is bright enough to skip one or more years of study.

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Any child who has reached the age of six is required to attend a six-year elementary school (Shogakko); after completion of the elementary general education, he or she is required to attend a three-year lower secondary school (Chugakko), or in a more common Western terminology, junior high school. Parents can choose between public or private schools, providing the private school has been accredited and authorized by the Ministry of Education.

Even in 1948, only three years after the war, 99.64% of the children of the ages of compulsory education in Japan were attending schools, and the number has remained above 99.99% since 1982.

As can be seen in the statistics for 1992 shown in Table 3.2.1, almost 99% of the elementary school pupils in Japan attend public schools with a standard curriculum mandated by the Ministry of Education. Thus we have a very uniform education system especially in the elementary schools. Usually a pupil finishes elementary school at the age of twelve, then goes to a lower secondary school to complete the last three years of compulsory schooling.
Table 3.2.1. Statistics of the Elementary Schools in Japan as of 1992
Compared with the Data of 1955 (in Parentheses) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Elementary Number of Number of Female Number of Female schools schools students per cent teachers per cent ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Public 24,487 8,834,049 48.7 436,003 60.0 (26,659) (12,181,255) (337,535) National 73 47,231 49.8 1,780 21.9 (76) (45,691) (1,520) Private 170 65,946 60.9 2,986 49.4 (145) (40,006) (1,517) Total 24,730 8,947,226 48.8 440,769 59.8 (26,880) (12,266,952) (340,572) (46.5) -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

In elementary schools the objective of science education is to acquaint children with nature and to understand various phenomena, especially those encountered in daily life. Thus no particular terminology nor principles of chemistry are taught in elementary schools in Japan, similar to the case in other major countries.

In the 1992 school year, a new Course of Study was put into effect in elementary schools in Japan. Previously, science was taught as an independent subject entitled "Science", i.e., for 68 hours of the total 850 instruction hours for the 1st year, gradually increasing in the 2nd and 3rd years, and then for 105 hours among the total of 1015 hours for the 4th, 5th, and 6th years. However, in the new Course of Study, the two traditional subjects of "Science" and "Social Studies" disappeared from the classrooms of the 1st and 2nd year elementary school students in Japan. Instead, both subjects of previously equal weight were merged into a single course called "Life Environment Studies", taught for only 102 and 105 hours for the 1st and 2nd years, respectively. The 34 hours of time formerly allotted (34=2 years x 68 hours - 102 current instruction hours) to these two subjects was given to the "Japanese Language" course, which has a relatively large number of 306 hours of the total by this change.

Since the Chemical Society of Japan had no formal access or input into the revision of the "Course of Study", we are not in a position to explain its objective. We understand that those teachers of elementary schools who were eagerly teaching science in their class are having a more difficult time fostering interest in science-oriented boys and girls in the more limited hours and increased scope given to this combined subject.

Moreover, scientific societies are also concerned about another trend in elementary schools in Japan working against chemical education.
See Fig. 3.2.1(and Table 3.2.2) which demonstrates the gradual and steady increase in the ratio of female teachers in elementary schools in Japan. This trend is by no means reversing at the present time. Another 1986 statistic indicates that 27% of the elementary school teachers in Japan graduated from junior colleges. At this time, more than 90% of students in Japanese junior colleges are female. Unfortunately, these Junior Colleges tend to have weaker science education than major universities. By combining these figures we can say that an average elementary school in Japan is becoming an educational field where the proper spirit and essence of science are not being conveyed to the next generation due to the lack of qualified teachers and fewer teaching hours.

Not only in the Committee of Chemical Education in the Chemical Society of Japan, but also in many other places, realistic and effective plans for improving this situation are being discussed to alleviate this crisis.

  Table 3.2.2  Historical Trends in the Sex Composition of the Teachers 
               in Elementary Schools in Japan
  Year    1955    1965    1975    1985    1988    1989    1991    1992
  F/T       46.5    48.4    54.8    56.0    56.9    58.3    59.3    59.8
  F/T means the per cent of female teachers among the total number of 
  elementary school teachers.
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3.3.1 Statistics

As stated before, three-year study in a lower secondary school is compulsory in Japan. However, according to the statistics, 95.9% of the graduates of lower secondary schools matriculated to upper secondary schools in 1992, an increase from 94.1% in 1984. During this period female students consistently chose to further their education by two per cent more than male students, and this trend seems here to stay. Because of this situation, most second and third-year students in lower secondary schools in Japan do not believe that they are completing their compulsory education, but rather that they are preparing to choose their upper secondary school. If a student of a public secondary school wants to enter a famous public upper secondary school, he or she must study very hard to prepare for the exceptionally competitive entrance examination. Entrance to well-known private upper secondary schools is extremely narrow, since many of those private schools tend to have a six-year combined upper and lower school course. Before discussing the present state of chemical education in the lower secondary schools, it is necessary to present some statistical data of this stage of education in Japan (See Table 3.3.1).
Table 3.3.1  Number of schools, students, and teachers of lower secondary 
            schools in Japan (1992).
              Number of    Number of Students       Number of Teachers 
              Schools      Male (%)   Female (%)    Male (%)   Female (%)
  Public       10,596          4,782,499                 270,735
                            (51.6)    (48.4)

  National         78             34,811                   1,677
                            (51.0)    (49.0)

  Private         626            219,530                  10,325
                            (42.7)    (57.3)

  Total        11,300          5,036,840                 282,737
                            (51.2)    (48.8)          (62.1)   (37.9)

Table 3.3.2. Increase in percentage of pupils who advance to upper secondary 
  Year        1950    1960    1970    1980    1989    1990    1991    1992
  per cent      42.5    57.7    82.1    94.2    94.7    95.1    95.4    95.9

A lower secondary school student is entitled to apply for either an upper secondary school, or a college of technology after completing his or her compulsory schooling. Every year almost two million students finish their compulsory education, and more than 95% of them go on to either of the above-mentioned upper schools. The actual statistics from 1989 to 1992 are 94.7%, 95.1%, 95.4%, and 95.9%, respectively (Table 3.3.2). This number has steadily been increasing from 42.5% (1950), to 57.7% (1960), then 82.1% (1970), and more recently, 94.2% (1980), but seems to have converged at around 95%. The proportion of lower secondary school graduates advancing toward upper schools is a little higher for female students (96.9) than for males (94.8) as of 1992. This trend matches the one toward higher education, namely, universities.

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3.3.2 Science Curriculum in Lower Secondary Schools

The objective of science education in lower secondary schools is to develop the student's ability and attitude toward a scientific way of thinking and increase their interest in learning about natural phenomena. In these levels chemistry is not taught separately, but as a part of an integrated science curriculum, Rika. The course of study in elementary and lower secondary schools was revised in 1989 and is currently being implemented.

Table 3.3.3 shows the standard number of yearly school hours in lower secondary schools in Japan. One school hour is 50 minutes. All the numerals in this Table 3.3.3 are multiples of 35, reflecting the school calendar's 35 weeks per year. Usually lower secondary students are taught science three hours per week; one additional hour may be allotted to third year students.
Table 3.3.3  Standard number of yearly school hours*1 in lower secondary 
             schools (effective from 1991).
      Subjects                           1st year    2nd year    3rd year
  Required Subjects:
      Japanese language                     175         140         140    
      Social studies                        140         140        70-105
      Mathematics                           105         140         140
      Science                               105         105       105~140
      Music                                  70        35~70         35
      Fine Arts                              70        35~70         35
      Health & Physical Education           105         105       105~140
      Industrial Arts and Home-making        70          70        70~105
      Moral education                        35          35          35
      Special Activities                    35~70       35~70      35~70

  Elective Subjects*2                      105~140     105~210    140~280

      Total                                1050        1050        1050
*1  One school hour is defined as 50 minutes.
*2  Recommended hours for English are 105 for each year.

The subject of science in lower secondary schools in Japan is divided almost equally into two fields, namely, Field-1 (physics and chemistry) and Field-2 (astronomy, earth science, and biology).

Among the various subtopics in Field-1, one can choose the following related to chemistry;
  1. ) Substances and their changes that can be encountered in daily life,

  2. ) Atoms, molecules, and chemical changes, and

  3. ) Chemical changes involving ions. In all these studies, students are trained to develop habits of scientific thinking through careful observations, experiments, and discussions.

For Field-1, subtopics 1), aqueous solutions, interchanges among the three states of matter, and typical properties of gases are studied. Through various experiments students learn the fundamental techniques for treating chemical substances and to recognize the concepts of solvent, solute, solution, and purification. Instead of giving numerous names of chemical substances, the importance of quantitative study in science is also taught through measuring the weight of substances and temperature of phase changes. The most important purpose of subtopic 2) is to understand that all matter is composed of atoms or molecules, and nothing can be created nor annihilated during the course of chemical reactions. However, the reactions to be studied are limited to typical oxidation reactions and a few other important combination and decomposition reactions. Although the symbols of typical elements and chemical formulas are taught, the quantitative concepts of the mole and atomic weight are not given. In subtopic 3), the concepts of acid and base (alkali) together with neutralization are taught through quantitative experiments involving simple monatomic ions. Electrolysis of several typical aqueous solutions is introduced, revealing that atoms are composed of components with an electrical charge.

Beside these chemical studies the concepts of energy and its various forms and changes are given. Through understanding the concepts of chemical substances and energy, students will find common words and ideas appearing in both Fields 1 and 2.
Table 3.3.4    An example of science curriculum in lower secondary schools 
             (Content of a textbook of science(Rika) (Field -1))

  Chapter 1  Things around Ourselves
      Sections: Aqueous Solutions, Properties of Gases
      Keywords: aqueous solution, solute, solvent, filtration, flame reaction, 
               saturation, crystal, recrystallization, concentration,
               inflammability, precipitation 
      Experiments: preparation and observation of aqueous solutions, filtration,
                  weighing with a balance, temperature dependency of solubility,
                  recrystallization of alum, preparation and observation of
                  gases (oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, ammonia)

  Chapter 2  State Change and Heat
      Sections: State Changes of Matter, Heat and Temperature
      Keywords: three states of matter, density, melting, solidification,
               boiling, melting point, boiling point, distillation, calorie,
               heat capacity
      Experiments: observation of phase changes of wax, temperature measuring 
                  of melting of para-dichlorobenzene (plotting of experimental
                  data), temperature measuring of boiling of water and ethanol,
                  rate of temperature change on heating of water and vegetable 

  Chapter 3  Light and Sound
  Chapter 4  Force and Pressure

  Chapter 5  Chemical Change of Matter
      Sections: Combination, Decomposition
      Keywords: oxidation, oxide, combustion, organic substance, combination,
               compound, decomposition, cathode, anode, electrolysis, chemical 
               change, physical change
      Experiments: weight change in combustion of steel wool, observation of 
                  combustion of chemical substances (ethanol, aluminum foil, 
                  steel wool, sulfur, etc.), combination of iron and sulfur, 
                  heating of sodium hydrogen carbonate

  Chapter 6  Structure of Matter
      Sections: Chemical Change and Mass, Atoms and Molecules
      Keywords: law of conservation of mass, reduction, atom, molecule, element,
               chemical formula, reaction formula
      Experiments: weight change in the reaction of lime and hydrochloric acid, 
                  mass difference between copper and copper oxide

  Chapter 7  Property of Electric Current
  Chapter 8  Actions Done by Electric Current

  Chapter 9  Chemical Change and Ions
      Sections: Electrolysis and Ions, Acids and Alkalis and Their Reactions
      Keywords: electrolyte, non-electrolyte, ion, cation, anion, electrolytic 
               dissociation, cell (battery), acid, alkali, neutralization, salt
      Experiments: conductivity of aqueous solutions, electrolysis of copper 
                  chloride solution, electric cell, properties of acidic and 
                  alkaline solutions, reaction of hydrochloric acid and sodium 
                  hydroxide solution, concentration of volume changes in 

  Chapter 10  Motion and Energy
  Chapter 11  Progress of Science

All the above explanations are rather qualitative in giving only the names of the items to be taught in the class and textbooks. The experiments to be performed by students or demonstrated by the teacher, and also the list of terminology to be taught, were selected from a textbook and shown in Table 3.3.4, so readers may grasp some quantitative feeling about the distribution of weights on the individual topics and problems.

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3.3.3 Chemical Education Problems in Lower Secondary Schools

Because more than 95% of lower secondary school graduates now advance to upper schools, the curriculum of science taught in the lower secondary schools should be discussed with this fact in mind. Previously the science curriculum in elementary schools had been designed to lead students into the science curriculum of the lower secondary schools, but the connection between curriculum in the lower and upper secondary schools was not so clearly defined as it is now.

In upper secondary schools students are now allowed to choose the subjects to be studied by themselves, especially in science and social studies. Thus, science education in lower secondary schools is supposed to not only give students the common and fundamental knowledge of science in general, but also to train them in the habits of scientific thinking and convince them of the importance and role of science. Further discussions on these issues, however, go beyond the scope of this publication.
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3.4.1 Statistics

Students who have finished the compulsory lower secondary schools may go on to upper secondary school (Koto Gakko). Recently, however, more than 95 per cent of them continue onward to higher education, and the majority of them go to full-time schools. Only 1.5 percent of students go to part-time schools, and less than one per cent take correspondence courses. The full-time course lasts three years, while part-time and correspondence courses can extend four years or more. Upper secondary courses may also be classified into two types: general (comprehensive) and specialized. The general education is adapted to the needs of both those who wish to continue on to the institutions of higher learning, and those seeking employment but have not yet chosen any specific vocational area. Recently, two new national technological universities were founded to accept the alumni of these specialized upper secondary schools (
See 3.6). Specialized (or "trade school") courses are further classified into categories such as technical, commercial, agricultural, etc. Students enter those upper secondary schools at age of 15, after taking entrance examinations.

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3.4.2 Science Curriculum in Upper Secondary Schools

According to the new "Course of Study", which became effective in 1994 after the third revision in 1989, the contents of science taught at this school level are divided into thirteen subjects: integrated science, physics IA, physics IB, physics II, chemistry IA, chemistry IB, chemistry II, biology IA, biology IB, biology II, earth science IA, earth science IB, and earth science II.

Integrated science teaches a global view of science by combining fundamental principles and concepts in the four fields of science, namely, physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science, and receives 4 credit units. In each field of science, IB teaches the fundamental and introductory part to be optionally followed by part II of the advanced course, while part IA teaches those problems in each field of science closely related to daily life. The IA and II courses in all four fields receive 2 credit units, part IB receives 4 credit units. Any of the four advanced subjects of part II should be studied immediately following completion of the corresponding IB course.
Table 3.4. 1  Contents of Textbooks of Chemistry IA, IB, and II
  Chemistry IA
  Part 1  Substances in Nature and Their Changes
      1  Substances in Nature: major elements and substances forming the earth
        and our body, atomic structure and periodic table, atomic weight,
        molecule, crystal
      2  Water: water cycle on the surface of the earth, three states of matter,
        solution, mole, decomposition and formation of water molecule, pH,
        reaction formula
      3  Atmosphere: components of the air, combustion and oxidation,reduction,
        electron, the law of gas reaction, qualitative analysis, neutralization
  Part 2  Chemistry in the Daily Life
      1  Organic Compounds: groups of compounds, functional group
      2  Food Chemistry: nutrition, carbohydrate, protein, fat,
      3  Chemistry of Clothing: natural fiber, artificial fiber
      4  Dyes and Detergents: dyestuffs and pigments, bleaching, soap, washing,
        enzyme, natural flavor, Nylon
  Part 3  Chemistry of Things around Us
      1  Plastics: polyethylene, phenol resin
      2  Metal: iron, aluminum, reactivity of metal, ionization tendency, rust,
        cell, noble metal
      3  Inorganic Materials: ceramics, crystal, glass state, earthenware and
  Part 4  Manufacturing of Chemical Substances around Us
      1  Things from Air: nitrogen, oxygen, chemical fertilizer
      2  Things from Minerals: refinement of metal, iron and steel, copper, 
          aluminum, natural salt
      3  Things from Petroleum: origin and components of petroleum, hydrocarbon,
                               petroleum industry, natural and synthetic rubber
  Part 5  Application of Chemistry and Human Life
      1  Progress of Chemistry and Its Role: laws in chemistry, Avogadro number,
        law of conservation of mass
      2  Preservation of Our Environment: cyclization of carbon, ozone, acidic 
        rain, recycle     

  Chemistry IB
  Part 1  Composition and Structure of Chemical Substances
      1  Chemical Substances and Atoms and Molecules
      2  Structure of Atoms and Periodic Table
      3  Chemical Bond
  Part 2  Gas and Solution
      1  Three States of Matter
      2  Properties of Gases
      3  Properties of Solutions
  Part 3  Chemical Reactions        
      1  Chemical Reaction and Reaction Heat
      2  Reaction of Acid and Base      
      3  Oxidation and Reduction
  Part 4  Inorganic Substances
      1  Typical Elements and Combustion
      2  Nonmetal Elements and their Chemical Substances
      3  Transition Elements and Chemical Substances
  Part 5  Organic Substances
      1  Properties and Reactions of Elements
      2  Aromatic Substances    
  Chemistry II
  Part I  Rate of Reactions and Chemical Equilibrium
      1  Rate of Chemical Reactions  
      2  Chemical Equilibrium  
  Part 2  Polymer Compounds
      1  Polymer Compounds
      2  Natural Polymers
      3  Synthetic Polymers
  Part 3  Target Study

Integrated science and IA and IB courses in the four fields of science form five categories in the subject of science to be selected by each student. As compulsory credits of science, each student must select two subjects from the five categories explained above under the restriction that a pair of IA and IB courses in the same field cannot be chosen (See Table 3.4.1).

As a reference the contents of the new textbooks of Chemistry IA, IB, and II are summarized In Table 3.4.1.

The purpose of "Target Study" is for a student to personally experience the research activity which, for example, was actually performed by historically famous scientists, or which is so relevant to daily life that it can be conducted solely by upper secondary school students.

In textbooks, several examples of "Target Study" are given, such as historical experiments, and each student is supposed to settle on one of these as a target, design one or a few experiments, perform it by himself or herself, and write a report or perform the presentation.
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With the conspicuous advance of science and technology and the rapid industrial growth of Japan after 1955, the demand for promising engineers with higher technical ability increased. In order to meet the demands of industries, a unique education system of the "college of technology" was established in April 1962. The college of technology (Koto Semmon Gakko in Japanese, abbreviated often as Kosen) literally means highly specialized school. As of 1994 there are 62 colleges of technology (54 national, 5 public and 3 private colleges), of which 31 have departments related to chemistry. In contrast to universities which are concentrated in a few large cities, colleges of technology are distributed to comparatively small cities throughout the country. Each college has 3, 4 or 5 departments and the total number of students per college is usually less than 1000. Unlike other institutions of higher education (universities and junior colleges), colleges of technology accept the graduate of lower secondary school and the duration of the course is five years. Therefore, the period of study in the colleges corresponds to the upper secondary school combined with the general education period (two years) of universities.

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3.5.1 Enrollment

Students are admitted to colleges of technology through a scholastic ability examination or by recommendation upon graduation from their lower secondary schools. A common examination is conducted at 54 national and 3 public colleges yearly in February each year, nationwide. The examination is given in five subjects: Japanese, Mathematics, Natural Science, Social Science and English. Some colleges of technology allow graduates of upper secondary school to transfer into the fourth year of study.

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3.5.2 Education

An advantage of the college of technology is the continuous five-year education system which makes it possible to carry on higher education on specialized subjects effectively. All students, regardless of the department they belong, have to take more than 75 credits of general education (humanities, social sciences, physics, chemistry, English and another foreign language) until graduation, where 30 school hours of lesson per school year are counted as one credit. The curriculum in the first year is mostly devoted to general education. They are gradually replaced by specialized subjects each year. The chemistry course in general education (usually 3 and 2 credits in 1st and 2nd year respectively) is devoted to general chemistry, inorganic ,organic and polymer chemistry, and the other materials. In order to complete the college course, students must earn more than 170 credits, including more than 82 credits of specialized subjects. Therefore, the students of colleges of technology study specialized subjects for more than 2460 hours until graduation, whereas university students complete roughly 2000 hours of lessons in four years. Emphasis is placed on experiments, practice at industries and graduation thesis. Internships held with certain industries for two weeks during summer are profitable for the fourth-year students. The graduation thesis is focused on increasing creative thinking and synthesis by mutual contacts between professors and students. Some students are qualified to present their papers before academic societies. Students are granted the title of an associate of engineering upon graduation.

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3.5.3 Departments Related to Chemistry

There are variety of departments related to chemistry in colleges of technology. They were established originally as the departments of industrial chemistry. With the progress of industry, some of the departments changed their name together with some modification in curriculum, e.g., departments of material engineering, biochemistry, and chemical engineering. The curricula offered in these departments are naturally somewhat different for each department and each college. Generally, a year long lecture course on inorganic and organic chemistry is given at second and third year and that on physical chemistry at third and fourth year. Applied physics, applied mathematics and chemical engineering are given in third or fourth year. The curriculum also covers various topics, such as analytical chemistry, biology, quantum chemistry, environmental chemistry, enzyme technology, computer programming, material chemistry, quality control, electrochemistry, etc. Several laboratory courses covering inorganic, organic and physicochemical experiments are given in succession from first to fifth year.

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3.5.4 Graduation

Naturally, college students graduate two years earlier than university students and mostly start to work as engineers in the development, design or production engineering section in industries. The annual number of graduates from the 62 colleges of technology is about 10,000 which is approximately one-tenth of those graduating from the faculty of engineering at universities. The gross number of the college graduates from their foundation up to 1994 is more than 200,000. Since the college graduates have high reputation in industries, the number of jobs offered is more than twenty times greater than that of the college graduates every year. Many national, public and private universities are open to the college graduates. They can enter in the third year of universities and study usually for four years to obtain the master's degree. More than 14% of the college graduates go on to universities every year. Several colleges of technology offer a two-year advanced course which is supposed to provide a higher level of technical education for students who wish to continue their studies in order to keep up with the increasing complexity of recent technology. The program is open for the graduates of colleges of technology working for companies. Students who have completed studies of the advanced course and who also fulfill specific requirements, are eligible to receive a bachelor's degree by applying to the National Institute for Academic Degrees.
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3.6.1 Statistics

Students enter universities after twelve years of education at age eighteen, and about two million students now attend 523 (as of 1992) four-year universities, including 98 national, 41 public (prefectural and municipal), and 384 private universities. Some universities select students at the departmental level and others select at the faculty level. In the former, one may enter a university as a student of the department of chemistry, faculty of science, whereas, in the latter he or she enters as a student of the faculty of science or faculty of engineering, and if he or she is interested in chemistry, he or she may become a student of the department of chemistry after general education of one and a half to two years depending on each university. Co-education is now adopted in the universities and colleges with a very few exceptions.

Let us now survey the statistics about the chemistry-related courses in the university system in Japan. The faculties in the universities in Japan are usually classified into ten as in Table 3.6.1. Among them the following four faculties offer mostly science courses, i.e., science, technology, agriculture, and medical science, and about half of the departments in the faculties of mercantile marine and home economics are science-oriented. Those third year high school students in Japan who want to study chemistry as their major in a university can find a proper department in the above faculties. Since chemistry is the most widely spread field of science, so many different and exotic names are given to chemistry-related departments, ranging from pure chemistry to material science, clothing, food science, zymurgy, etc.. As of the statistics in spring of 1992, 523 universities in Japan.
Table 3.6.1 The Number of Chemistry Major Freshmen (in parentheses) in the Total
         Distribution of Majors Who Entered Universities in Japan in 1992 (x103)
  Faculty                   National        Public          Private          Total
                            universities    universities    universities
  Humanities                  6.9             3.0             76.9           86.8

  Social Science             17.0             6.2            196.0          219.2

  Science                     6.9             0.7             10.6           18.3
                             (1.7)           (0.1)            (2.0)          (3.8)

  Engineering                31.1             1.8             71.4          104.3
                             (6.0)           (0.4)            (6.0)         (12.4)

  Agriculture                 7.5             0.5              8.7           16.6
                             (0.7)           (0.2)            (1.0)          (1.9)
  Health Science              6.2             1.2             15.2           22.6
                             (1.2)           (0.3)            (8.0)          (9.5)

  Mercantile Marine           0.2              -                -             0.2

  Home Economics              0.3             0.7              9.1           10.1

  Education                  22.1             0.4             13.1           35.5

  Art                         0.6             0.6             12.4           13.7

  Miscellaneous               6.8             0.2              7.3           14.3

  Total                     105.6            15.4            420.6          541.6
                             (9.6)           (1.0)           (17.0)         (27.6)

accepted five hundred and forty thousand students as freshmen. Rough percentages of the number of undergraduate students in Japan enrolled in the faculties of science, engineering, agriculture, and medical science are, respectively, 3, 20, 3, and 4.

Of the 31 out of 98 national universities in Japan, about one third of the total have a department of chemistry in their faculty of science, while two out of 40 prefectural and 20 out of 384 private universities have a department of chemistry in either of their faculty of science or faculty of science and engineering. In total every year in Japan nearly 4,000 students enteri the departments of chemistry. The department of applied chemistry is found in either of the three faculties, i.e., faculties of science, science and engineering, and engineering, whereas the department of industrial chemistry is usually found in the faculty of engineering. The total number of students who enter these applied chemistry courses is estimated to be more than 12,000 every year. The number of chemistry-related freshmen in the faculty of agriculture is around 2,000. A little less than 10,000 students get their bachelor of pharmacy annually. Now every year more than 27,000 freshmen enter the universities through the chemistry gate in this country, which is almost five percent of the total number of 4-year university freshmen. This large numbers tell us how important chemical education is to the young generation.

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3.6.2 General Education

Recently, especially in national universities in Japan, schools are undergoing reforms(
see Ch. 7.6), such as renaming the faculty of general education, and beginning to call the subjects in general education "core subjects". However, here we will use the traditional terminology of "general education"(see also Ch. 7.6)

. General education is given at all universities. Even the student who has entered the university as a student in the chemistry department is required to take credits for general education requirements. The student must take 12 credits each in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences in addition to one or more foreign languages. Science students usually take English and German and sometimes French, Russian, or Chinese. During the general education period the chemistry course is usually devoted to general chemistry, organic chemistry, and experiments including inorganic qualitative analysis and simple organic experiments. After completing general education requirements students enter their respective departments. Students selected at the faculty level when they entered the university are required to choose departments. The decision to accept students is made by the faculty according to grades received during the general education period.

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3.6.3 Undergraduate Training in Chemistry

There are many departments related to chemistry in Japanese universities; the departments of chemistry, agricultural chemistry, industrial chemistry, pharmaceutical science, synthetic chemistry, etc. The chemistry curriculum offered in these departments is somewhat different for each department and each university. If the department of chemistry in the faculty of science is taken as an example, after two years of general education, the third year is devoted to a year-long lecture course in each of the following subjects: analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, biological chemistry, and other special topics such as industrial chemistry and radiochemistry. Recently subjects such as structural chemistry, quantum chemistry, and information chemistry are becoming more popular. Several laboratory courses covering quantitative analysis, inorganic preparations, organic syntheses, classical physico-chemical experiments, infrared and NMR spectroscopy, X-ray techniques, or biochemical experiments are given in succession in one or one and a half years. In many universities a training course in computational chemistry using computers is provided by chemistry department staffs.

In some universities, a thesis is not required for graduation, and students are supposed to attend lectures in several special courses instead. However, most universities generally expect a student to devote the entire fourth year to experiencing research life in the laboratory, along with a written thesis. Initially, every student is asked to choose a professor to study under, and join that professor's laboratory as a member of the staff to carry out experiments for their thesis, spending most of their time on this project.

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3.6.4 Graduate Training in Chemistry

Since World War II the graduate courses have been reformed completely, and now they are more or less comparable to those in America. Nowadays almost all the national universities in Japan have at least one graduate course (master's course) either in the faculty of science or faculty of engineering, and approximately twenty universities have both.(
see also Ch. 3.8)

However, only two public and 10 private universities have a graduate course in pure chemistry. The number of universities offering a doctor's course in chemistry is not large, around 30 including national, public, and private universities. Entrance examinations to the master's course in chemistry are open to graduates of other universities which have no graduate schools, but there are still many students who take their undergraduate and graduate work at the same university. Almost all graduate students in chemistry are required to take 30 course credits during the two-year master's course. A thesis is required to obtain the master's degree. Usually about half of the students completing the master's course go into industry or teaching. Officially the number of students allowed to enter the doctor's course is half of the number of students in the master's course; a student is admitted to the doctor's course if he or she is recommended by the professor and approved by the faculty. When a student who did his or her master's work at one of the universities which offers only the master's course wants to enter the doctor's program in other major universities, he or she should have a good recommendation from his professor and often he or she must also pass an interview.

The official doctor's course is a three-year course, but usually it takes three to four years to obtain the degree. However, recently the Ministry of Education allows outstanding students to shorten the time required to receive this degree. The doctoral candidate should take the required course credits and submit a doctoral thesis, the main part of which is to be published in an established journal in the appropriate science field. He or she must also pass the oral examination by the department staff members. This is the so-called "course doctorate". The "thesis doctorate" may be given to those completing their doctoral work in other research institutions or industrial companies, and have submitted their theses. They must pass oral and written examinations on specified subjects and an interview.

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3.6.5 The Koza System, and the Funding System

One characteristic of the Japanese university system, especially in national universities, is a special "Koza" unit devoted to education and research. Its origin is old and began in 1893 in the University of Tokyo. A koza is a research team and at the same time a laboratory unit which is responsible for certain lectures and experimental courses. In major universities with doctorate courses, including pre-war imperial universities, a koza in natural science faculties consists of one full professor, one associate professor, two assistants, and one or two technicians. In the new universities established after 1947, a koza usually consists of one full professor, one associate professor, and one assistant. However, in many such new universities many departments have deficient koza.

Financial support from the university goes to a koza in a lump sum, not apportioned to individual staff members. It has been pointed out especially recently, that victims of the koza system, if any, might be found among those bright assistants with potential whose bosses are inactive. With the upper positions occupied, they will not be given an opportunity to prove their ability and forge ahead into undiscovered territory. While the reasons for the Ministry of Education's recent policy shift have not been publicly disclosed, it is now involved in persuading the national universities to reform the small traditional koza system into a larger one, where the hierarchical structure within each koza in a certain department is eliminated to form one "big koza", and members may then work independently or form ad hoc research groups. At the same time, some fraction of the total number of assistants in that department will be promoted to either full or associate professors so they may have a chance to show their abilities.

Many departments have decided to switch to this "big koza" system, yet several problems remain. For example, as the total number of staff in the department will be unchanged, all the "dirty work" which the former assistants had to do under the direction of their bosses must still be done anyway by the members of the big koza, where no assigned specialist for the task is present in that group. And whether lower-ranking professors will ever be truly independent and able to compete for the necessary funding with full professors has yet to be shown. In any event, whether this reform from the small koza system to the new big koza system will be beneficial is too early to tell.

Another important feature of Japanese universities is the funding system. A koza, a professor, or a staff member is entitled to receive a certain amount of operating expenses every year. This system holds true not only for national but also for public and private universities, although the budgeted amount varies. The running expense budget given yearly is barely sufficient to cover the expenses of student experiments and a part of the research expenses of staff members. Therefore, even when grants from the outside are not available, a minimum level of research activity can be maintained.

However, in order to continue and extend their research more actively than before the researchers have to apply for various grants available. The grant-in-aid of the Ministry of Education, which is the most common and popular, is given to applicants from upper secondary school teachers to university professors after selection. This grant money can be used with a very few exceptions only for costs associated with pursuing research but not for the salary of post doctorates. The average success ratio in getting this grant is almost one third or less, though varying among different categories. The most popular categories, "general research grant" given to either individual or group applicants, is divided into three categories, depending on the amount of money for one academic year; Class A (above ten million yen, or approximately one hundred thousand U.S. dollars and up), Class B (above a few million yen, or thirty to one hundred thousand dollars), and Class C (below a few million yen, or thirty thousand dollars or less). All these funds should be spent within a fiscal year (from April to the next March)only for research . If a researcher or a group of researchers needs more than one hundred million yen, a few other categories are available. The amount of this grant-in-aid from the Ministry of Education has been increasing every year despite the economic depression in recent years. One can find more funds through other grants from either private enterprises or quasi-governmental funds, such as JSPS, Japan Society for Promotion of Science.
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In order to meet the social demand for the rapid developments in science and technology the government planned to establish two national Institutes of technological sciences, i.e., the Technological University of Nagaoka and Toyohashi University of Technology, which were opened in October 1976 and began to enroll the first students in April 1978. For the same purpose the Tokyo Metropolitan Government reformed a junior college of technology into Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Technology in April 1986.

Although the last one accepts only the upper secondary school graduates as all other universities do, sixty per cent of the students of the former two new national universities are those who came from technical colleges in the third-year level. They are supposed to finish the undergraduate course in two years followed by another two-year study in the master course. Those students who entered from high schools as freshmen are also supposed to finish the master course. A doctoral course is also available for students who want to pursue a higher level of research. Foreign students are also welcome in these new universities. The number of foreign students is expected to increase steadily in the future.

In these two universities all the students are trained in factories research facilities in industries for several months before their graduation. Practical experimentation and training are considered to be important in these technological universities.

Chemistry-oriented students can study in the course of material science in these two national universities, while the metropolitan university has the department of chemistry.
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3.8.1 General Tendency

In the graduate school of university, there is a master course(generally two years' terms)(Shushi Katei) and a doctor course(generally three years term)(Hakase Katei) which follows the master course. Recently, the terms of study in both courses have become more flexible. Namely, in the master course a standard term is 2 years, but an excellent student can graduate from this course after only 1 year of study. In the doctor course an excellent student also can graduate only 1 year though the standard term is 3 years. Moreover, a few 3rd-year students in the undergraduate course can enter into the master course(i.e., one year skip). So far, however, only a very few students have enjoyed this skipping system mostly because of the high qualification required, such as the rank of marks in the top 5% in the class and a lot of credits acquired for being qualified to such a skip system Recently more than 80% of the students of the chemistry department of the main universities seem to go to the graduate school. This tendency is common to students in the departments of chemistry, applied chemistry and chemical engineering, and they usually continue to study up to the master course in the graduate school.

This tendency seems promising in view of the bleeding of the next generation of chemists. The fact is not, however, so simple. Most of the new masters tend to leave the university to find a job in most cases in a private enterprise, and only a few of them go on to the doctor course to continue their study. There have been many arguments as to the reasons and remedies to this general tendency. In a word, the quality of research laboratories of the universities has deteriorated to such an extent for the last twenty or thirty years that it is now impossible to compare with those of private industries which have spent a considerable amount of money for R & D for these years.

It is true that most of developments of chemistry and chemical industries in Japan expect to have more doctoral course students. A drastic change in the policy of government on the quality of research laboratories should be done if this demand is to be fulfilled. Now the Chemical Society of Japan exerts all possible efforts to improve the circumstances for research work with the expectation to increase the number of doctor course students. There is some sign of slow but steady change in the government policy on the graduate school in general . This point will be discussed later.

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3.8.2 Course Work in Graduate Schools

Besides the quality of research laboratories, most graduate schools of chemistry, or rather, of science and technology, have a common problem; unsystematic(or rather, non-systematic curriculum for course work). It makes a sharp contrast with the strictly organized curriculum of science subjects in primary and secondary education.

In the graduate course the students must take more than 30 credit units(one unit usually 15 (90-120 min) lectures). However, the lectures given by professors tend to be on topics of their own interest which sometimes are too difficult or too specific, and sometimes there is room for overlap of lectures. In a word there is no curriculum for the graduate school. For the last few years the voice for systematization of graduate school education because it is more effective in breeding a large number of graduate students. On the other hand, there are still many professors who believe that graduate students are independent researchers and hence systematic course work is not very appropriate to them.

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3.8.3 Centralization to Graduate Schools (Daigakuin-ka)

For the last few years the policy of Monbusho has changed so that, in certain universities, the graduate education, rather than undergraduate education, should gradually be the core education. Traditionally the core of the university is the Faculty(of Science, or of Technology, etc) and the graduate school is in a sense, attached to the faculty. There has been, except for a very few schools, no teaching and administrative personnel solely devoted to graduate education.

The new policy of Monbusho is to convert Faculties into Graduate Schools. that is, a different kind of "Scrap and Build' policy. From April 1994, the Faculty of Science at the University of Tokyo was changed to the Graduate School of Science, the University of Tokyo. There has been graduate school in the University of Tokyo. What is changed is the main responsibility of the new graduate school. The graduate education is the main responsibility of the school and the undergraduate education is its second duty. The stress is reversed. In response to this change, an increase of annual budget, laboratory space, and the number of graduate students to be admitted is allowed.

This policy, to breed a greater number of graduate students, is understandable since the future of Japan largely depends on science and technology. On the other hand, the recent economic slump of Japan was so severe that new master's degree holders sometimes have difficulty in finding an appropriate position. For the next few years it seems that all faculties of major national universities will be converted to graduate schools. It is too early, however, to draw any conclusion as to the appropriateness of this popularization of graduate school.
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Chemical Education in Japan (1994)(Copy right 1994, The Chemical Society of Japan)