Junior High School
Junior High School (Middle School) Level (Grade 1 = 12 years old by April 2 – Grade 3 = 14 years old by April 2)
Public – Junior High School is part of compulsory education in Japan. Everything is taught in Japanese. Most students will be enrolled in their local public junior high school. There are no entrance exams required to enroll in those local schools.
Public (special) -- there are special public junior high schools like Kyuyo and Kaiho, which require the applicants to take entrance exams for admission. These schools specialize in a particular subject, for example math and science. In general, these schools offer higher quality education than general public junior high schools. The tuition for these schools is higher than for normal public schools, but much less than tuition for private schools.
Private – schools like Okinawa Shogaku, Konan, and the junior high school affiliated to Showa pharmaceutical university also require the applicants to take entrance exams for admission. In general, these schools offer higher quality education than general public junior high schools.
Most students who want to attend the above-mentioned special schools will need to begin preparing while still in elementary school (as early as possible, but no later than 4th grade).
Note 1: In principal, Japanese language support is not available in most public and private Junior High Schools in Okinawa. Native-level or near-native-level Japanese is expected.*
For Special public school and Private schools, advanced level Japanese is expected.
Note 2: Because Junior High School is part of the compulsory education system in Japan, everyone graduates at the end of their third year, whether they have been accepted to a high school or not. There is no option to repeat a year.
International – Schools are called “インターナショナル”; “international” in Okinawa when English is the language of instruction. Being an international school does not necessarily mean the school is accredited or has a majority of students from outside Japan. The curriculum depends on the school, and schools follow either a Japanese calendar year or an American one. International schools will not necessarily keep students on grade level in both English and Japanese, and some international schools have a Japanese language requirement at the junior high school level (Amicus, OIS). More information on international schools can be found on the Schooling Options website.