You may recall the posting about two weeks ago (June 6, 1998) about changes being made in the Japanese school mathematics curriculum due to the change of schooling from 6 days per week to 5 days, beginning in the year 2002. [I am including it again below.]
I just received a note from a Japanese colleague in which it was mentioned that the Japanese Ministry of Education (Monbusho) has not publicly stated the information contained in the newspaper article; that is, the reporter had a different source(s) for the information in the article. In particular, the percent of reduction in content has not been publicly disclosed by the Ministry.
Also, it was mentioned that Japanese mathematics educators are interested in comments on and reactions to the information in the posting.
Any readers who have comments or reactions are welcome to send them to me, and in due course, I will forward them to our Japanese colleagues.
In this connection, let me say that I will be out of town for about a month, returning only for a day each weekend. Nevertheless, I will forward any notes I receive in as timely a fashion as I can.
All good wishes.
P.S. I am sending this to exactly the same list of addresses that the earlier note went to.
On the front page of the May 24th, 1998, issue of the "Asahi" newspaper in Japan, major changes in the new Course of Study (Mathematics) were reported.
These changes are due to the changes in the school calender in Japan -- the school week will be reduced from six days per week to five days in the year 2002.
Accordingly, there is a 30% reduction in mathematical content in the elementary school syllabus (grades 1-6) and a 36% reduction in the lower secondary school syllabus (grades 7-9).
At the upper secondary level, a new course called 'Mathematics Fundamentals' will be instituted. In the course, some history of mathematics and mathematics used in daily living will be taught. The course is especially for students who dislike mathematics and has the objective of fostering their interest in the subject, and motivating them for learning mathematics.
The list below reports some of the major changes being made ...
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (grades 1-6)
- expressions using inequality symbols (2nd grade) - areas of trapezoid and polygon (5th grade) - change of units (2nd- 6th grade )>- regular polygon (5th grade) - frequency distribution (6th grade)>- value of ratio (a:b=a/b) (6th grade)
Moved to the upper elementary grades [i.e., moved form indicated grade to upper elementary grade(s)
- introduction to decimals and fractions (3th grade)
Integration into the upper secondary school syllabus (from __th grade):
- surface area of cylinder and cone (6th grade) - congruence (5th grade) - symmetry in plane figures (6th grade) - reduced and enlarged figures (6th grade) - solid figures such as cone (6th grade) - expressions using letters (5th grade) - expressions of proportion (y=3x) and inverse proportion (6th grade) - ways of arrangement and combination (6th grade)
LOWER SECONDARY SCHOOL (grades 7-9)
- slicing a cube (7th grade) - expressions of numbers [i.e., binary numeration and/or scientific notation] (8th grade)
- manipulation of expressions using letters (7th grade)
Additions to upper grade in the lower secondary school:
- similar figures (8th grade) [i.e., moved from 8th to 9th grade]
Integration into the upper secondary grades (from lower secondary grades indicated):
- inequality in one dimension and one variable (8th grade) - formula of solutions for quadratic equation (9th grade) - some properties of circles such as "tangent chord theorem" (9th grade) - the center of gravity in triangle (8th grade) - summarizing data (8th grade) - events and functions (9th grade) - sample survey (9th grade)
Note: Elementary school is grades 1-6. Lower secondary school is grades 7-9. Upper secondary school is grades 10-12.
Note: I do not have any further information about these changes at this time. ******************************************************************** Jerry P. Becker Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA Fax: (618)453-4244 Phone: (618)453-4241 (office) E-mail: JBECKER@SIU.EDU