Tokyo Medical University has produced a humiliation by methodically lowering entrance examination scores and raising tuition fees, to limit the number of mostly female students. Greg Wheeler, in the 2018 International Journal for Educational Integrity, “The Tokyo Medical University entrance exam scandal: lessons learned,” point-by-point, breaks down problems related to the scandal of TMU, the reasons, some effective means to redress errors, and possible ways to avoid similar scandals in the future. Argues the author, rivalry for medical college in Japan is fierce and the impression that the careers for female doctors is not long lead to Tokyo Medical University’s mistake, and the biggest challenge now for TMU is to get back people’s reliance in its application procedure.
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Besides, the author also mentioned that TMU is not the only sexist university, so females who want to enter the medical field will often face difficulties. (Wheeler 2018)
Most people would agree with what Greg Wheeler states as the lead-up to the problem, because medicine is one of the most prevalent majors in Japan, moreover, graduates from medical school can directly work in the affiliated hospital of the university, and a stable salary also attracts more students to choose medical school. Therefore, competition for medical schools in Japan is force. As a result, many universities have to raise the admission requirements to improve the quality of students, and at the same time, raised the tuition fees. Based on a survey by the education ministry in 2017, although admission rates are very low, women still enroll at lower rates than men (Murakoshi and Sano 2018) Additionally, women often leave their jobs for family reasons, they need to give birth, take care of the family and look after the children. According to the research, 60% of Japanese women leave their work place after having child. (Koshi 2015) Still and all, some countries have adopted policies that are friendly to female doctors, such as parental leave for child-rearing. (Murakoshi and Sano 2018) Therefore, the special requirements of women cannot be the fundamental reason for Tokyo Medical University to restrict women’s enrollment. Specifically, it is obviously the discrimination against female by TMU, which is more about its own interests.
From the author’s point of view, the biggest challenge now for TMU is to get back people’s reliance in its application process. However, of the actions advised by the author to make up for the fault, none would be easy. The reimbursement of the 60,000-yen application fee to anyone whose test scores have been dropped is a reasonable suggestion, but only reimbursement will not compensate for the unfair treatment of candidates. A better approach, the author says, is to offer candidates the chance to be admitted if they scored high enough, or to skip parts of the subsequent application process. This approach might work, but candidates’ time has been wasted, and the fact that school manipulates the scores can bring the disappointment, the students’ psychology was also hurt. Improve the transparency of entrance exams, show the standard answers and test scores to applicants and specific to each question, so that students can find out exactly what has affected the overall scores. In addition, the investigation also shows that the school’s former director took money from some parents who wanted privileged treatment for their sons. (McCurry 2018) Therefore, the school officials who grade the test should be strictly selected, and the officials cannot have discrimination against female doctors, to ensure that similar incidents will not happen in the future.
TMU is not the only sexist university, so women who want to enter the medical field will often face difficulties. General only a little percentage of the feminine students, particularly those in the first year, thought male and female physicians got equal treatment. (Takahashi et al. 2017) Most people believe that housework and child-rearing are the most important tasks for women, so women can’t put heart and soul to the work, by contrast, men will cause less trouble to work than women, so there are reasons for the discrimination against women in universities. However, discrimination against women happens not only in Japanese universities, but also in other countries. According to Association of American Medical Colleges 2017 graduate questionnaire, 39% reported personally experiencing sexist, racial discrimination, or other offensive comments or insults. (Antman 2018) Therefore, public should pay attention to sexist, but it will not be easy to change the situation, more effort is needed.
In conclusion, the author made a comprehensive analysis of the scandal of Tokyo Medical University, then emphasized the biggest challenge TMU faces now, and also made some effective suggestions. The reasons that Greg Wheeler analyzed are comprehensive and consistent with the fact, many Japanese students want to enter medical universities, and because of family reasons, women’s medical careers will not last long, so the medical school finally decide to limit the number of female students by unreasonable means. The ideas from Wheeler showed real, workable options, though the implementation has certain difficulties. There still are a lot of female students suffering gender discrimination. Therefore, discrimination against women in universities should be brought to people’s attention, and the personnel related should try their best to deal with the problem, more action should be taken to prevent women from suffering from unequal treatment. All in all, a reader who reads Wheeler’s article and do some deeper research on the issue of TMU’s scandal, will come away concerned about sexist, if not shocked.
Antman, K. (2018). Building on# MeToo to enhance the learning environment for US medical schools. Jama, 319(17), 1759-1760.
Koshi, N. (2015). How can we improve gender equality in Japan? https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/04/how-can-we-improve-gender-equality-in-japan/
McCurry, J. (2018) Tokyo medical school admits changing results to exclude women. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/08/tokyo-medical-school-admits-changing-results-to-exclude-women
Murakoshi K, Sano A (2018) Tokyo medical school takes heat for gender discrimination. Nikkei Asian Review. https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Tokyo-medical-school-takes-heat-for-gender-discrimination. Accessed 20 Aug 2018
Takahashi K, Nin T, Akano M, Hasuike Y, Iijima H, Suzuki K (2017) Views of Japanese medical students on the work-life balance of female physicians. Int J Med Educ 8:165–169. https://doi.org/10.5116/ijme.5907.0d44
Wheeler (2018) The Tokyo Medical University entrance exam scandal: lessons learned. Int J Educ Integr 14:14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40979-018-0039-4
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