Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Suicide Trends in Japan and the Philippines

Hello readers!

One of the interesting cultural trademarks that I found in Japan is the act of committing suicide. In ancient Japan, when the master of a samurai falls or dies, the samurai will be labeled as a rōnin (浪人)--an outcast--thereby losing his master's favor or privilege. In modern Japan, in the pursuit of higher education, students become stressed when they are not accepted in the university. This becomes a source of concern and may lead to committing suicide out of shame to the society.

A study from the University of Tokyo revealed that a total of 65 students committed suicide between 1961 and 1981. An alarmingly increasing trend of suicide cases was similarly seen in the Philippines mostly due to economic reasons. In the Bicol region alone, 26 cases were reported between January and May 2009. This number includes both the adult and the young population.
In another article, even the young ones are feeling the effects of bad financial situation that propel them to commit suicide.

I agree with the proposed solution of the article that follows--provision of computer-based education system for web techie teens in Japan. On the other hand, in the Philippines, in addition to equipping free or cheap web-based education to the young, scholarships, and generation of income through part-time jobs may help alleviate the problem.

Elearning: A Possible Solution to Japan’s Growing Hikikomori Problem, 12 Mar 2010

Japan is experiencing a number of suicidal cases. These cases are committed by teenagers who failed to pass college entrance exams and have no college to go to. Is it really that big a deal to commit suicide just because you don’t have a college to go to? Apparently, it is for Japanese culture. Japanese students highly regard getting a good university to study at, and they believe that getting in college is the first step in being a successful professional in the future, which is true in some sense. However some students could not bare the thought of not entering a college right after high school. In extreme cases some of the students commit suicide. In other cases most of these students become part of the “Hikikomori” society. It is a real-world phenomenon of disenchanted young Japanese shut-ins who usually over sleep and withdraw from regular society. These individuals are growing in numbers and in fact one percent of Japan’s population consists of Hikikiomoris. These individuals are labeled as N.E.E.T. as in Not in Employment, Education or Training. They usually rent a single room apartment and live off on their parents’ fund. Their parents know that their son/daughter is working or training and sends their children allowances. In the US these individuals can be categorized as bums.

These Hikikomoris are web junkies, they spend most of their time surfing the internet. Some of them are gifted with great potentials as programmers and graphic artist. It is such as waste to see young teenagers shut themselves inside their room, much more talented teenagers. So what to do with these teenagers who have potentials? How do we prevent them from rotting away inside their rooms? The answer is Elearning. Since these students became Hikikomoris because they failed to find a university or college to get into, why not bring them to a different classroom? Bring these students to virtual classroom, to be precise. Online learning authors use many elearning tools that can cater to a wide range of students. Surely, this can be appealing to Japanese students.

The main problem why the Hikikomori phenomenon happens is because Japanese students failed the entrance examinations to get into a university or college after high school. That is not a problem with elearning. The online learning system requires no entrance exams, students can easily log in and choose the course they want to study, and online learning also offers a multitude of courses. From medical related course to business oriented course, students have a wide range of courses to choose from.

Since most of the Hikikomori society spends a lot of time surfing the internet, they will have no problem of studying from computer based learning. It is such a sad thought to see the young generation end up as bums, when in fact there is a way that will allow them to pursue their desired courses. With many of Japan’s teenagers who are skilled in computer programming and graphic arts, it would be a loss of future talented working force. Through this innovation teaching delivery, these Hikikomoris can study as college students and who knows perhaps they will be able to come up with better elearning tools which can further develop online learning. It is the virtual class room that is intended for Japanese students who failed to get into college.



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