More women accepted into Japanese medical schools

MORE women were accepted into Japan’s medical schools last year, signalling an improvement over gender-based discrimination in entrance examinations that came to light several years ago.

An Education Ministry survey showed that the average exam pass rate for women at the country’s 81 universities with a medical faculty stood at 13.60 per cent against men’s 13.51 per cent.

According to a Kyodo News report, this was the first-time women beat men in the pass rate since comparable data became available in the 2013.

There were a number of exam-rigging scandals in 2018, including that of Tokyo Medical University, which admitted to manipulating scores to limit female enrolment.

This later led to a government probe into entrance exams at medical schools in the country, which then found that 10 schools had manipulated scores.

The Kyodo report said that between 2013 and 2018 academic years, the national average ratio of successful male applicants was 11.25 per cent, while that of females stood at 9.55 per cent.

Government data showed that the situation seem to have been rectified in the following academic years, although men’s acceptance rate was still higher than women.

A Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology official in charge of medical education said the latest results showed there was not much difference between the male and female ratios and this underscored how women were no longer being discriminated against.

“It has become clear that the acceptance rate will not be low only for female applicants,” the official said.

The survey showed that out of 62,325 male applicants nationwide, only 8,421 passed, while 5,880 out of 43,243 female applicants succeeded.

The Kyodo report said that of the 10 schools found to have used improper entrance exam practices, six including Nihon University and Iwate Medical University, had the acceptance rate for women higher than men for last year.

In August 2018, Tokyo Medical University had admitted to having unfairly lowered the scores of female applicants to limit their enrolment.

It said this was to avoid a shortage of doctors at its hospitals since women doctors tend to resign or take leave after getting married or giving birth.

Later that year, the education ministry said after its probe that 10 out of the 81 medical schools in Japan had manipulated their entrance exams to favour male applicants and relatives of their alumni.

The ministry’s latest survey also showed that schools in the country have seen more successful female applicants over male applicants.

Between the 2013 and 2018 academic years, the acceptance rate for women surpassing men averaged about 15 schools but for last year, it rose to 36 schools.

Source: New Straits Times


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