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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Japan’s “Yutori Kyoiku,” or “Flexible Education

“Yutori Kyoiku,” or “Flexible Education,” is a fascinating concept in Japanese schooling that prioritizes a holistic approach to learning over traditional grading systems. Let’s get into its details, weighing its pros and cons while exploring real-life examples to better understand its impact.


  1. Reduced Stress: One of the primary benefits of “yutori kyoiku” is its ability to alleviate stress on students. By delaying formal grading for the first few years, children can focus on exploration and learning without the pressure of achieving high marks. This promotes a healthier attitude towards education and helps prevent burnout at a young age.
  1. Holistic Development: Flexible education emphasizes the importance of holistic development. Rather than solely focusing on academic subjects, students engage in diverse activities that nurture creativity, critical thinking, and social skills. For example, they may participate in art projects, outdoor activities, or collaborative problem-solving exercises, promoting a well-rounded education.
  1. Individualized Learning: The approach allows for a more individualized learning experience. Teachers have the flexibility to tailor instruction to each student’s needs and interests, fostering a supportive environment where children can thrive at their own pace. This personalized approach enhances student engagement and motivation.
  1. Encourages Exploration: “Yutori kyoiku” encourages curiosity and exploration. Without the pressure of grades, students feel more inclined to experiment with new ideas and concepts. For instance, they may delve into topics they find intriguing, conduct hands-on experiments, or express themselves creatively through various mediums.


  1. Lack of Accountability: Critics argue that the absence of formal grading may lead to a lack of accountability among students. Without clear benchmarks, some students may not feel motivated to strive for excellence or take their studies seriously. This could potentially hinder their academic progress in the long run.
  1. Difficulty in Evaluation: Another challenge is the difficulty in evaluating student progress. While the focus on holistic development is beneficial, it can make it challenging for educators to assess students’ academic abilities accurately. This lack of assessment may pose challenges when tracking students’ growth and identifying areas for improvement.
  1. Transition to Graded System: As students progress to higher grades or transition to schools with traditional grading systems, they may encounter difficulties adapting to the new format. The sudden shift from a non-competitive environment to one focused on grades could cause stress and anxiety, negating the initial benefits of flexible education.


  1. Project-Based Learning: In a “yutori kyoiku” classroom, students might engage in project-based learning activities. For example, instead of taking a traditional math test, students could work collaboratively to design and build a model bridge, applying mathematical concepts in a real-world context.
  1. Outdoor Education: Flexible education encourages outdoor learning experiences. Teachers may organize nature walks, gardening projects, or field trips to museums or historical sites. These hands-on activities provide students with valuable opportunities to explore the world around them and connect classroom learning to the real world.
  1. Arts Integration: Arts integration is another common practice in “yutori kyoiku.” Students may participate in music, dance, or visual arts lessons as part of their regular curriculum. These creative outlets not only foster self-expression but also enhance cognitive skills and promote emotional well-being.

In conclusion, “yutori kyoiku” offers a refreshing approach to education that prioritizes the holistic development of students. While it has its challenges, the benefits of reduced stress, holistic learning, and individualized instruction make it a compelling model worth exploring further in the quest to create a more balanced and effective education system.

Countries with the Best Educational Systems – 2020 Global Citizens for Human Rights










South Korea

In 2021, the Philippines ranked 55th

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