Land of the rising gap year
According to the Daily Yomiuri, the University of Tokyo is debating a shift of enrolment from spring to autumn to make space for six-month gaps between school and university.
University President, Junichi Hamada, is quoted as saying: "We want our students to enter the university after they learn the social value of study and become aware of various issues, not just come to college as a continuation of their entrance exam preparations."
A third year economics student, Hiroki Yoshizawa, tells how trips involving work experience in rural Japan and volunteering in Cambodia, gave him a greater appetite to learn. "I came to see a link with the world, and the school’s lectures became more interesting," he said.
Earlier this year, the Japanese Business Federation backed gap years as a way to improve job applicants’ understanding of the world of work. According to the Federation, gap years help build an outward-looking approach and better communications skills.
Gap years are still relatively rare in Japan but growing fast, with numbers thought to the have trebled since 2008.