Backlash

Several years ago, the Ministry of Education decreased the number of hours of study at school. The logic was that giving kids Saturday off would allow them more time to relax, improve familial relationships, pursue their own interests, and possibly spur creativity. What happened was parents panicked and started sending their kids to cram schools on Saturdays, so these kids still don’t know what to do with their free time.

In today’s issue of The Japan Times, I read about a new private boarding school for boys, billed as Japan’s Eton. At a cost of 3 million yen per year,it’s very expensive, but as one father said, “A child’s future is determined by his school, and the school is determined by money.”

Eighty of Japan’s most powerful companies designed the academy which they hope will “churn out future global leaders who can think independently but also work well with others.”

The daily schedule is something like this: wake at seven, sit in class all day, take an hour break to call mom and dad, then do homework till bedtime. And students are allowed to bring no more than five CDs and ten books.

Says Yoshiyuki Kasai, a member of the school’s board of directors, “The ability to think outside the box comes from a structured life.”

Well, then, with all that structure it sounds to me as if Kaiyo Academy will be a hotbed of creativity.

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