Japaner Unnayane Shikkhar Bhumika, Published by Dyu Publication, Dhaka. January 2020, Page: 191, Price: Tk. 400
Japan is a unique country which has a most remarkable story of building human resources by skillfully using the tool of universal quality education and thus paving a vast road of development against many odds. Developing countries including Bangladesh can study and follow its experiences for their own progress. Japaner Unnayane Shikkhar Bhumika (Dyu Publication, Dhaka, 2020) by Dr. Monjure Khoda is such a book describing the role of education in the miraculous development of a once poor and natural resource-deprived country and urging us to take as many lessons from them as possible.
Interesting thing is that Japan learned this strategy from the west and they used their learning better than the western. Yet in doing so it did not lose any of its cultural heritage and characteristics. The author says that, unlike us, a Japanese person will do for you more than what s/he promises. In any government or private offices, banks or shops in Japan, everyone rushes to help you. No one behaves like a boss in the work-place and they become happy being able to serve their clients, customers or people visiting them.
There are nice discussions in this book on many similarities and dissimilarities between Japan and Bangladesh. Japan introduced a uniform compulsory primary education in 1871 and 30 years later (1905) the number of school-going children rose to 95.6 percent in that country. On the other hand, in Bangladesh the compulsory primary education could not be started until 1991. There are still 10 types of schools and three streams of education at the national level in our country.
The Japanese do all their works and thinking in their own language though the Japanese language is much harder to learn than Bengali. They need to learn 1,006 letters and then 1,130 more to be able to learn the language well. The author says, in Japan from preprimary to higher study and research work they do everything in their own language. Whatever valuable books, journals and studies are published in any language anywhere in the world are instantly translated into the Japanese language.
Education starts from preprimary in their country, for all children. Every child goes to class, no one drops out, almost never any child stays absent from the class because school is a place of joy for the Japanese children. Teachers and students together sit to have their meals in school. They have no final exam at the end of every year. Children never fail in any class because teachers work hard for their success; if there is any failure it is teacher’s, not the child’s.
Japanese teachers are deeply respected and highly dedicated. Those who are most talented become teachers in primary schools. They get salaries more than what any civil service provides. Japan gives most emphasis on quality primary education for all, whereas our British-introduced education system is obsessed with higher education for the few lucky and advantaged.
There are no ‘extra-curricular activities’ like ours in their education system because sports and cultural activities are part of their teaching-learning, not anything extra. They have no ‘outside book’ as in our system because any good and important book is valued by them, not considered alien as in our eyes. Almost every Japanese parent owns a car but they do not think it fitting to show off their wealth to other children who might not have that. So Japanese children go to school by walking.
The basic teaching in their school is cooperation with one another. There are many examples given in the book showing their sense of duty, honesty, helping attitude and others. Sense of beauty, discipline and cleanliness are sown in their blood from their very childhood in school. Three hours of moral education every week was made compulsory in 1890. Now it has been integrated into the whole system.
This book has discussed the role of the Meiji government in initiating and establishing this education system. The author also points to the positive influence of Confucian philosophy on their educational development. We need to study the role education played in Japan and make a strategy to apply their lessons in our education in order to pave the road to real development desired by us. Dr. Monjure Khoda’s Japaner Unnayane Shikkhar Bhumika can be a guide for this.