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Educational business in Japan - statistics & facts

The Japanese educational business industry was worth approximately 2.7 trillion Japanese yen in the 2020 fiscal year. This industry is comprises of supplementary tutorial schools, examination preparatory schools for children, language schools, business schools, private tutors dispatching, and correspondence education.
Services for children dominate the industry because a majority of Japanese parents consider extracurricular education essential. All schools, except public elementary and secondary schools, have entrance examinations, and most of the children in Japan visit preparatory schools at least once in their school years. Supplementary tutorial schools for children, also known as cram schools, have the highest number of facilities in operation as well as the largest share of sales revenue in the industry. Benesse Holdings, Inc., established in 1955, generated the largest revenue of any education-related individual enterprise in the 2021 fiscal year. The central business of Benesse is correspondence education for children utilizing both paper and digital-based learning materials.

Primary customers

The decreasing number of school-age children is of serious concern for the Japanese educational service industry. The number of elementary-age pupils has fallen from around 7.3 million 20 years ago to 6.3 million in 2020. Despite that, the market of educational businesses had experienced a moderate growth in revenue until the corona disease (COVID-19) pandemic induced a decline in 2020. The sales of supplementary tutorial schools also had continuously increased for the five years preceding 2019. Both figures indicate that parents continue to finance out-of-school extracurricular education for children. According to the latest survey results, parents whose children attend lower secondary schools on average spent around 18 thousand Japanese yen on education, excluding school fees.
A relatively new trend in the educational business sector is ‘lifelong education’ focusing on seniors and adults. According to surveys, the most popular educational services for adults include sports and fitness-related courses, as well as language and IT classes.

EdTech: the future of learning

Most classes in the education business are typically face-to-face. However, the market of e-learning has been expanding, a trend that was the COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated. A declaration of a state of emergency in spring 2020 lead to many non-school learning facilities shutting down. These businesses began to offer online courses to compensate for the lost revenue and, concurrently, increased online learning infrastructure, developments that is expected to continue in the coming years.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in Japan announced the plan for Global and Innovation Gateway for All (GIGA) schools in 2019. With this policy, the MEXT aims to establish an ICT infrastructure in educational institutions and provide one computer per student in every school. The ministry also designated programming as a compulsory education in elementary schools starting in 2020. It is anticipated that this strategy will promote the Education Technology (EdTech) field and facilitate, for example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) based learning and Learning Management Systems (LMS) in addition to e-learning.

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