「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Loving homework

By Anthony Fensom


Homework is the bane of schoolchildren worldwide, but is still pushed on kids by parents and educators. Is the battle really necessary?

Getting up at six o’clock in the morning again to do homework on a weekday, my 9-year-old daughter declared she was finished with extra study.

“When kids rule the world, there will be no homework,” she proclaimed.

With that day yet to arrive, kids around the world are still racking up plenty of hours on homework. According to a recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, kids in Shanghai top the global study league with an average of 13.8 hours per week, nearly three times the OECD average of 4.9 hours.

Children in Australia and the United States did around six hours a week of homework set by teachers, while those in Japan reported a surprisingly low 3.8 hours. However, Japanese kids do a lot more extra work in juku (cram) tuition, which helps prepare for future school entrance examinations.

Does all that extra work pay off? Based on the latest 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey of 15-year-old students, Asian teens outperformed the rest of the world, with those in Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Macau and Japan the top performers.

Among the OECD countries that took part in PISA, Japan ranked first in reading and science and second in mathematics performance, continuing its strong record. By contrast, Australian students ranked 17th in maths, 10th in reading and eighth in science, falling further behind its Asian neighbours.

And when it comes to our kids’ future, studying more pays off in the long run. A tertiary-educated worker in Japan typically earns around 52 percent more over the course of his or her working life than someone whose highest qualification is high school.

Japan even has its own special play school for future workers. At Tokyo’s KidZania, “a land of kids, by kids, for kids,” children can try out more than 80 different jobs, including being a doctor, firefighter or journalist.

But all work and no play makes Jack (or Taro) a dull boy. Researchers advise parents to spend time on physical activity with their kids, to ensure children lead healthy lifestyles.

So next time your kids complain about homework, just remind them it is for their ultimate benefit. But also spend time having a walk, run or swim, because kids need all the power they can get to rule the world.


宿題が好きという子どもは少ないけれど、親や学校の先生は子どもたちに宿題を課す。実際、宿題は必要なのだろうか? 各国の子どもの学力や将来の収入に関する統計を見て検証してみよう。

The Japan Times ST: November 7, 2014

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版