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Parents blamed for Okinawa kids’ scholastic failures

Date Posted: 2007-12-14

Okinawa’s children have the lowest academic scores in the nation, and studies are now under way to figure out exactly why.

The decline in scholastic abilities is worrisome for government officials, who don’t like having Okinawa ranked at the bottom of statistical summaries. Academicians based in Tokyo have been studying Okinawan children’s lives, looking for clues on why their grades keep slipping lower.

One university professor says Okinawan children’s lives are very much corrupt, but says it isn’t their fault, but the fault of parents. “Okinawan children wake up so late in the morning, or stay up late in the evening, and that’s not a good life.” Parents are responsible, he points out, but adds they’re being irresponsible. The investigation reveals many bad habits haunting Okinawan youth, with failures to keep promises and not going to bed early at the top of the list.

The study included interviews with nearly 1,000 parents and youngsters in elementary schools. Professors say behavior modification is necessary for children to improve their personal habits, which should lead to higher scores on achievement tests. It all must begin, the professors say, with home education.

The interviews with 953 people showed Okinawan students failed to engage in many common activities, including writing letters, cleaning their rooms, studying independently, greeting people with a ‘good morning’ or ‘good night’, not keeping time or promises, failing to wash their hands before meals, following traffic rules, or brushing their teeth.

Other shortfalls on the part of local kids were an inability to answer the telephone politely, say ‘please’ or ‘sorry’, go to bed early, help others, finish their meals, and to cherish or appreciate what they have.

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