During the new 2020 academic year, we expect to see an increasingly active debate over how to restart Japan’s university entrance exam reform. This is because the inclusion of privately administered English tests and write-in answer parts for math and Japanese in the Common Test for University Admissions, which is to be administered as the successor to the National Center Test starting in January 2021, has been postponed. Leading up to this decision, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) had instructed universities to diversify their examination methods to include aspects such as long-answer written responses, essays, interviews, and debate, all of which require logical thinking, judgment, and expressive ability. MEXT had also requested universities to employ selection methods that consider students’ experiences during their high school years in addition to their academic performance. Implementing their own reforms ahead of this policy shift, starting in the academic year 2016, the University of Tokyo instituted an entrance exam by recommendation, and Kyoto University implemented its own original entrance exam. In addition to these two universities, all higher-level public and national universities in Japan have also headed in the same direction and bolstered their own recommendation examinations and “AO” (Admissions Office) entrance exams, while working to devise secondary exam problems as well. The overhaul to university entrance exams is not going to start with the Common Test for University Admissions next spring. The truth is that it started at least five years ago and has already grown into a cascading wave of change.
Ever since our school’s founding, a quarter century ago, Ritsumeikan Keisho has been a step ahead of this overhaul to the entrance exam system, advocating “World-Class 18-Year-Olds” with education geared toward a new age. This tagline was the declaration of our resolve to provide a new type of education as a school that gives students the power to solve problems on a global scale utilizing a strong foundation in global and science education.
“World-Class 18-Year-Olds” can be expressed by what we call the Three C’s: challenge, contribution, and collaboration. Specifically, this means students who take on the world’s tough challenges as global leaders. This means students who are always thinking who their studies are to benefit, and for whose sake they are alive. This means students who are highly motivated to contribute to society and the world. And lastly, it essentially means students who overcome differences in race, religion, and culture to debate and cooperate amongst each other and find ways to solve problems for which at this time there seemingly are no answers.
In this unpredictable day and age with drastic changes occurring unlike ever before, there is not necessarily only one correct answer. In addition to gaining the intellectual capacity to aggressively work toward solving social problems on a global scale, our students have the chance to gain numerous real-life experiences including a broad selection of learning programs in Japan and abroad. These programs are focused on in-depth, independent and interactive learning methods such as problem-based learning (PBL). This is precisely the type of education that can have students immediately prepared for the entrance examination reform which is already under way. Keisho is regularly represented among the few students each year from Hokkaido who pass the University of Tokyo’s entrance exam by recommendation, or even Kyoto University’s original entrance exam. This speaks volumes about how our education at Keisho already offers what the entrance exam reform aims to evaluate.
At Ritsumeikan Keisho, we provide an education which develops all types of potential capabilities. What is more, we have instructors who are always there for our students to help them facilitate and build these capabilities. We hope you will spend these most important three or six years of your life moving forward together with us.
Ritsumeikan Keisho Junior and Senior High School Principal