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Most med schools had more successful male applicants than female in past 6 yrs: gov't

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- More than half of 81 public and private medical schools nationwide had more successful male applicants than female in their entrance examinations during the past six years, according to the results of an education ministry survey announced on Sept. 4.

The survey came on the heels of a scandal at Tokyo Medical University, which manipulated exam scores to accept more male students and applicants who had previously failed the entrance exam less than three times. The school allegedly did so on the grounds that women doctors tend to take maternity and child care leave and cause labor shortages at hospitals affiliated with the university.

No schools surveyed said they manipulated their scores to admit fewer women. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology plans to conduct an additional probe of schools that had higher admission rates for men, and publish the results in October.

According to the survey conducted Aug. 10-24, the ratios of medical schools with more successful male applicants than female were between 56.79 percent and 71.25 percent between the 2013 and 2018 academic years.

In the entrance exams in 2018, a total of 76,572 male students sat for the exams and 8,812, or 12 percent, made it through the tests. Among women, 48,601 took the tests and 4,597, or 9 percent, were successful. Universities with more successful male applicants than female numbered 57, or 70.37 percent, of the total. The percentages for the preceding five years were 56.79 for 2017, 71.25 for 2016, 64.56 for 2015, 68.35 for 2014 and 69.62 for 2013.

Among applicants in 2018, the ratios of successful candidates were the highest among 18 year olds or younger and 19 year olds -- 15 percent for male and 11 percent for female, respectively. As applicants age, their success rates tend to drop, and those admitted aged 22 or older made up 5 percent of men and 4 percent of women.

When asked why they have more men than women among their successful candidates, the medical schools polled answered that the results reflected their "rigorous screening processes." With the exception of Tokyo Medical University caught up in the scandal, all the schools denied any manipulation of entrance exam scores to lower the number of successful female applicants.

Juntendo University in Tokyo had the largest gap between the average acceptance rate between male and female candidates during the six-year period, passing 9.2 percent of male applicants while the ratio for women was 5.5 percent. This means that men were 1.67 times more likely to enter the medical school than women. Most universities high on the list of those with a greater female-male difference of successful candidates were private institutions like Showa University, whose average male to female ratio of successful candidates stood at 1.54, and Nihon University at 1.49.

Medical schools with higher ratios of successful female candidates were led by Hirosaki University, where 16.9 percent of women candidates passed its entrance exams and the average female-to-male ratio stood at 0.75, followed by Gifu University at 0.84 and Tokushima University at 0.87. This result indicated that national universities tend to have more female applicants than male that passed their tests.

An education ministry official said the figures vary depending on years and schools, and it is difficult to say if the survey found anything unusual. "We'd like to visit medical schools for interviews if necessary," the official said.

At Tokyo Medical University, an internal investigative committee announced in August that the school padded the scores of 19 applicants in the first phase of its two-tier entrance exams in 2017 and 2018. In the second phase, the university changed the scores of applicants to reduce the number of successful female applicants and those who failed in previous tests three times or more. The panel concluded that the school had conducted such practices since at least 2006.

(Japanese original by Takuya Izawa, City News Department)

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