Japan/December 22, 2022/Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/
Parents rush to get children into private institutions that offer remote learning
The cost of sending children to cram schools in Japan has hit an all-time high, the growth driven by COVID-related demand to attend private schools with distance-learning technology.
Families of public elementary school students paid 81,158 yen ($613) annually on average for tutoring classes in the previous fiscal year, according to data published Wednesday by the Education Ministry. This represents a 52% increase from the last survey conducted fiscal 2018.
For public middle school students, the average bill was 250,196 yen during the 12 months ended March, a gain of 23%. The fees for private elementary- and middle school-aged children stood at 273,629 yen and 175,435 yen respectively, up 8% and 14% accordingly.
Each amount is the highest since the Education Ministry started keeping count in fiscal 1994.
The share of households sending children to cram schools has decreased slightly, according to the survey.
A large factor driving these trends is “the rise in popularity for private schools,” said Nobuyasu Morigami, an expert in the cram school industry who heads the education consulting firm Morigami Kyoiku Kenkyujyo.
When the coronavirus pandemic swept through Japan in fiscal 2020, most schools temporarily shut their doors. Those closures continued into fiscal 2021.
“There were more households that placed a premium on tutoring schools with the aim of gaining acceptance into private schools, where distance learning and other information and communications technology have taken off,” said Morigami.
In other words, a growing number of households are having children study for middle school entrance exams. This fiscal year, there are about 67,500 children in the Greater Tokyo area taking entrance exams at public and private middle schools, according to an estimate from cram school operator Eikoh Seminar. The number is up by 4,000 students from fiscal 2012.
The Education Ministry conducts the survey on education spending every two years, but the latest survey had been delayed due to the pandemic. The survey drew responses from 27,000 parents and guardians of school-aged children.