天王寺高校で一日である English Day のプログラム参加してって、お昼の時偶然うちの友達に悩み相談することを聞いて、家に帰った後このメールを天王寺高校の English Day イベント担当者に送りました。
I am YU-CHIEH CHANG, exchange student of OU who joined your English Day event last week. I heard you asked another foreigner student the following question, and I want to give you my answer, though you didn't ask me. You asked,
"Do people in your country usually go to University? In Japan, especially in 天王寺高校 we go to university."
Here is my answer.
It is not a yes-no question.
I think you know the answer because in your question since you'd mentioned "especially in 天王寺高校"
The educational system in Taiwan was established by the Japanese government before World War II（WWII, 第二次世界大戦）, so there isn't much difference between Japan and Taiwan when talking about education. Some research says that after the WWII, that is Japanese government left Taiwan, every development in Taiwan is behind Japanese for a decade, including education.
If you look at the newspaper in Taiwan, it will tell you the percentage of those who "pass" the 入学試験*1 is 97%. It is a very high percentage, isn't it? In fact, these 3% students are not "fail" the exam. They take the exam and they get the score, but the score (点数) "is not high enough". That's the reason why they take the exam, but they don't enter university (入学). Therefore, they "do not pass" the exam. Most of these students get a really great score, but all they want is to enter medical school and their score "are not high enough" to enter medical school.
Due to 低出生率, the number of students become less and less, but the number of the student, each university wants to require is the same. In fact, some universities keep larger the extent of it in order to require more and more students especially private schools. The current worldwide right now is to lower the number each university require or two or more universities combined together. For example, 大阪大学 and 大阪外国語大学 used to be different university.
The above is fact description. However, what I want to share with you is my story.
I was graduated from 中山女高, Zhong-Shan Girls' Senior High School. It is the second best senior high school for girls in Taipei. In Taiwan, the top high schools usually separate boys and girls, that means you can only find boys OR girls in one school. I heard that 天王寺高校 and 台北第一女子高級中學(北一女, Taipei First Girls' Senior High School) is 姉妹校, and your guesting is correct that they're the top best girls high school not only in Taipei but also in Taiwan. By the way, my high school 中山女高 is of 住吉高校 in Osaka, and I've visited them in February, 2012.
Just as 天王寺高校 and 住吉高校 in Osaka, 北一女 and 中山女高 in Taipei have long school history. Take my high school for example, both 北一女 and 中山女高 were set up in 日本統治時代, they are ones of the most oldest (古い) high schools in Taiwan. A little difference between them was that 北一女 only for Japanese girls and 中山女高 only for Taiwanese girls at that time.
The longer the school history is, the higher classes or to say the more responsibility is. I'm not sure if you know it or not, that 大阪大学 was started from 適塾 closed to 中之島. To say it easier, usually the older the school is, in the past only few people can go to school and with its frame right now, these "old schools" are still very famous for students who want to get the best education resources.
天王寺高校 and my high school, 中山女高 are in common. We all have long school history and the main point is, only those students who got high score on the 入学試験 for high school can enter. Let's why most of students in and my classmates, we go to university for advanced education.
Dear, remember, the more we get from society, the more we need to pay back to society.
( This is a Chinese saying, "得之於人者太多，出之於己者太少")
Have you noticed that from elementary school to high school, the family background of your classmates become more and more similar? This is so called "social structure" in sociology (人間科学). The higher class your family is, the more resource you have; thus, the better school or education you get.
Sometimes it's hard to tell from which you like or dislike. For me, when we talk about a subject, I like social science,
such as history or policy, but I'm good at science (理系) instead of 文系. In the past, almost every decision was decided by our parents, not by ourselves. Suddenly, we have to decide our future (should we go to university? Which university and 学部／専門 should we go to) by ourselves, but didn't what to start with.
I don't like the word "smart" (頭がいい), and I don't use it. The word "smart" is for adults praise their children. It combines too much wish of others and stress on you. In fact, smart should be generalized in every field, but our first image about "smart" is always "being good at learning".
Dears, I know you're such a brave girl who work hard and study hard for a long long time. Right now it may be a turning point for you to make a big decision. I might not be able to give you some advice, but I can be a good listener. To speak out loud is a good method at least to reduce some pressure. If it's hard to tell your parents or friends, I would like to be your listener.
Life is a journey, and we have to keep walking forward on our own. Perhaps right now we are in a tunnel without light, we can't see the destination or how far the exit is. Please keep walking forward with your eyes open, observing the environment around you even if in the dark. The hints might be one the wall, but you won't notice them without your eyes open. Please keep walking instead of staying at one point. The more destination you move, the closer you reach the goal/exit.
Dears, you're so brave to keep moving till where you are right now. I'm still not sure where my exit is, but life keeps going on. The more we've received from the society, the more we should/have to do to pay back. It's fine to wonder what is our goal or entrance of our next journey. I don't know my answer, either. Please remember to keep observing the environment around you and walking forward. Let's find our road together.
Chang, Yu-Chieh（張 郁婕）
*1:A little difference of 入学試験 is that we have a national exam. Every senior high school student takes the same exam. We get the score first and then apply for the university we like. In Japan is that you have to decide which university you like and then go to the入学試験held by that school, right?