In the last post on this topic (for today!), we look at Japan -- where the
terror extreme stress associated with these exams even has a name -- "Examination Hell". A recent report in Japan Times seems to suggest that the Examination Hell is not all that hot in these days of declining population (there's even an academic study that looked at the phenomenon of ronin -- spending an extra year to prepare for the exam -- to check if it made economic sense).
Japan's tough college entrance exam competition was once known as "examination hell." Is it still?
Competition remains fairly stiff for those aiming for top universities, but many schools have become much easier to enter these days, observers say.
The competition intensified between the 1960s and 1980s due to Japan's high economic growth. During this period, companies, with their lifetime employment system, hired graduates from good schools, which meant one's future was decided at age 18, according to Koichi Nakai, author of "The History of University Entrance Exams in the Post-World War II Era."
Because more people wanted to receive higher education, deregulation in the 1990s triggered a rise in new universities.
However, the population of 18-year-olds peaked in 1992 and has been declining since.
At the same time, more than half of 18-year-olds are attending a university or junior college today.
This recent report, on the other hand, suggests that Examination Hell has percolated down to kindergartens and primary schools!