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Campus Now

Autumn Issue (Nov)

SPECIAL REPORT

Waseda's Goals
Unified Junior High School and High School Education & A Partnership between High Schools and Our University

Part.1

In order to further improve Waseda University

We discussed the background and meaning of Waseda's enhancement of affiliated schools and associated schools with Mr. Tsuchida, whose serves as Vice-President of Academic Affairs.

Affiliated/associated schools which are rich in individuality provide diversity to our university

(Conducting unique education which is rich in individuality at 7 affiliated/associated schools)

—To begin, would you please explain the difference between affiliated schools and associated schools?

Affiliated schools are parts of the same corporation as Waseda University, while associated schools are part of a separate corporation. All graduates of affiliated schools enter Waseda University. On the other hand, at associated schools, the ratio of preferred application to Waseda University varies depending on the school. For example, this ratio is almost 100% at Waseda Jitsugyo High School, which has a long history of more than 100 years. However, this ratio falls to 50% at Waseda Junior & Senior High School, which possesses an even longer history. This is because Waseda Junior & Senior High School prepares the options of both preferred application and entrance examinations for its students.

Although Waseda University Senior High School and Waseda Junior & Senior High School are all-male schools, all other schools are mixed gender. Some of the schools begin from the elementary school level, and other schools offer only high school level education. There is a great amount of variety in the terms "affiliated school" and "associated school." Each of the schools also constructs its own unique curriculum. This enables students to select a school which meets their needs, including any plans to take examinations for universities other than Waseda.

—The Setsuryo Junior High School & High School in Osaka became an associated school this year, and the Waseda Saga Junior High School & High School will open next year. Would you please discuss the background and aim of expansion to areas such as Osaka and Saga?

Originally, Waseda University was a school at which students from all regions of Japan gathered to study. However, statistics show that recently nearly 70% of Waseda students come from the Kanto region. This change is due to factors such as an increasing regional gap in the study environment for university examinations. Therefore, we established associated schools in Osaka and Kyushu in an attempt to revive the Waseda University tradition of emphasizing students from outside of the Tokyo region.

The environment in which individuals spend the susceptible period of their junior high school and high school lives has a profound effect upon their formation as human beings. A system in which students from a variety regions study together provides diversity to our university and increases the appeal of our university. Speaking personally, I was born and raised in Tokyo, and entering university provided me with my first opportunity to make friends who were from other regions.

—Next year, a junior high school will open at the Waseda University Honjo Senior High School. What are the merits of conducting unified junior high school and high school education?

The greatest merit is the ability to conduct education under a unified policy for a period of 6 years. The 6 years spent at junior high school and high school is the period during which an individual develops the fundamental abilities needed for life; namely, academic ability, physical strength, and mental strength. There is great meaning in spending this period without the stress of sitting for high school entrance examinations, and in being able to conduct down-to-earth education.

For example, half of the students attending Waseda Saga Junior High School & High School will enter Waseda University through preferred application, while the remaining half will enter other universities by taking entrance examinations. However, by dividing the 6 years of junior high school and high school into two-year periods of the "period for developing basic ability," the "period for developing applied ability," and the "the period for developing practical ability," and by studying in methodically progressive stages, students will be able to develop academic ability which is useful in any path that they may choose. This kind of undertaking is difficult to complete in only the 3 years of high school education. In the case of students who enter the school beginning from high school, we expect that they will provide a stimulus to existing students who have been part of the unified junior high school and high school, and we provide instruction that allows the new students to acclimate to the unified environment as quickly as possible.

(The major premise is the improvement of educational and research standards our university)

—How is the partnership conducted between the university, affiliated schools, and associated schools?

Beginning from last year, a conference has been held for the purpose of conducting candid debate regarding the relationship between our university and affiliated/associated schools, as well as regarding exchange between the affiliated/associated schools themselves. The conference is attended by representatives from our university and from all affiliated/associated schools. Instructors who actually teach onsite are among the attendees, and a meaningful exchange of opinions is conducted at the conference.

—How about the partnership between high schools and the university?

The merit for our university is the ability to contribute to education at affiliated/associated schools in order to secure the attendance of outstanding students. Of course, university instructors travel to junior high schools and high schools in order to conduct lectures and science experiments, and high school students are given the opportunity to attend university lectures. However, the greatest appeal of the system is the ability to incorporate elements desired by universities into the curriculums of junior high schools and high schools. In order to achieve this goal, our university must act at the undergraduate school level to increase awareness regarding the current situation of junior high schools and high schools, and our university must listen to the opinions and requests from junior high schools and high schools. I expect that we will strengthen vertical relationships and will conduct a close partnership that will allow students to enter an undergraduate school which suits their personal goals.

—An increase in associated schools results in Waseda accepting students from a variety of routes. Has a system for acceptance of students been established at the university?

In addition to affiliated and associated schools, our university accepts students from a variety of routes including recommendation from designated schools, admissions office entrance examinations, self-recommendation entrance examinations, and entrance examinations for students returning from overseas. For this reason, there is the possibility that differences in academic standards may occur at the time that students enter our university. It is therefore necessary to provide expansive education during the first academic year. Waseda's response to this issue has been to enhance fundamental education in all subject areas. Enhancements include expanding our "Tutorial English" program in order to strengthen the English ability of students, as well as establishing two new subjects entitled the "Academic Writing Program" and the "Mathematics Fundamentals Plus Alpha".

The overall quality of our university will not improve simply by increasing the number of affiliated and associated schools. It is also necessary for the university itself to raise standards for education and research. I hope to improve Waseda University by reconfirming the position of each affiliated school and each associated school, and by creating an organizational partnership.

Mr. Kenjiro Tsuchida
Waseda University Vice-President & Professor at the Faculty of Letters, Arts, and Sciences

Graduated from the Waseda University School of Letters, Arts and Sciences I. Completed courses at the Waseda University Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences with a major in Eastern Philosophy. Holds a Doctoral Degree (literature). Has received the Sinological Society of Japan Award and the Institute of Eastern Culture Award. His major research themes are "thought during the Song Period in China" and "thought during the Edo Period in Japan."