Preparatory schools/ juku
Yobiko and juku range from large-scale educational institutions preparing students to pass senior high school and university entrance examinations to small, individually offered classes to help children keep up with their daily school work. There are even juku offering lessons to pre-school children. The scale and content of the instruction depends upon the school's objectives.
The primary purpose of yobiko, or preparatory schools, is to enable students to pass the highly competitive entrance examinations of universities. Most yobiko enrollees are recent high school graduates who are seeking admission to colleges and universities after failing in their first sitting for the entrance examination 《→ronin 浪人》 In 1998 there were 121 yobiko in Japan with a combined enrollment of about 120,000.
Since college and university entrance requirements and standards are not regulated nationally, the information regarding university entrance examinations provided by yobiko is indispensable not only to enrolled students but to all prospective test takers. With the decrease in the population of eighteen-year-olds, which peaked in 1992 at 2.05 million, to 1.5 million in 2000, yobiko face an uncertain future. The declining number of college and university entrance exam applicants, meanwhile, may lead to easier admissions and perhaps even competition among the colleges to attract students.
Seventy percent of students at public junior high schools and more than half of those at private junior high schools attend some form of juku, although the number is on the decline. About 40% of junior high school students also have a private tutor (kateikyoshi). More kindergarten and elementary school children take various lessons such as piano, abacus, and calligraphy than those studying at juku.
Piano, electric piano (36.5%), calligraphy, penmanship (32.3%), English, English conversation (21.6%), swimming (18.8%), abacus (11.3%)
(Karaza Report 1999, Kumon Kodomo Kenkyujo)