A survey of Japan’s 18-year-olds revealed their opinions on school closures.
On the evening of February 27, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō requested elementary and junior high schools around the country to close down temporarily. Hardly anyone expected at the time that the schools would be closed for around three months. A survey of 18-year-olds conducted by the Nippon Foundation in late May on the topic of school education found that the most common problem caused by the closures, cited by 37.4% of those surveyed, was the negative effect on schoolwork, followed by the lack of communication with friends, at 20.3%, and the obstacles posed to entrance exam preparation and job hunting, at 17.8%.
Many of the reasons cited for the negative effect on schoolwork were related to online classes, including the following: “I was confused by my first online classes”; “I wasn’t able to ask questions to my teacher when I had them”; “I have many specialized classes involving technical skills and experiments that are not suited to online classes.” In addition, some respondents said that they neglected their studies because there was no set schedule to follow when at home.
When asked about their learning environment during the period of social distancing, around 80% of the respondents said that they had online tools and a learning environment