“Information” high school class in Japan

Date: October 22, 2020 7:29:07 JST

“Information” high school class in Japan

The Asahi Shimbun is reporting this morning that the pseudo-national
university admissions test, called the “center test” (used as an
admissions criteria essentially only by the national universities, not
the private ones, and even so augmented by additional tests created by
the universities themselves, but that’s a long story), will add
“Information” to its topics starting with the AY2024 test (meaning for
those entering college in April 2025). More broadly, they are
reorganizing the “30 classes in 6 subjects” into “21 classes in 7
subjects”.  I’ve never been clear on the exact relationship between
the administration of this test and MEXT, the education ministry that
decides the national curriculum, but this wouldn’t be done without
their blessing.

“Information” became a subject in Japanese high schools back in 2003,
and was upgraded to “Information Science” in 2013. My own daughters
go/went to a good private school, where it was taught as a short
course piled in with other random things as a “Project Studies” class.
I suspect most other high schools, even public ones, take it no more

The test will apparently be pass/fail, and it will be up to the
universities how to count it in admissions. It will be done on a mark
sheet; a computerized test “would require new infrastructure for

The only concrete topic mentioned is “construction of a computer”, by
which I think they mean, “A computer typically has a CPU, some memory,
some storage, a network interface, and I/O for communicating with a
human.” “Programming” is mentioned in a vague way.

According to the article, 1,300-1,400 people a year acquire a
MEXT-approved license to teach “Information”, but only about 50 of
them find jobs teaching it. In other places, schools are reassigning
music teachers and English teachers to cover the topic, with special
permission from MEXT. “It’s hard for a small high school to justify
hiring a permanent teacher for one class,” someone was quoted as
saying.  (Japan has about 5,000 high schools, though the number of
schools overall is declining more slowly than the school-age
population is.)

but in Japanese and only available to subscribers. There was a second
article I can’t find.

Jun or others would doubtless have more information than I do; I know
one of my colleagues was involved in IPSJ (equiv. ACM)’s K-12
education effort, and may even have contributed to the official
textbook (which my daughters didn’t use).

–Rod Van Meter


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