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  • Mainichi: Schools for foreigners, technical colleges included in DPJ’s free high school lesson plan. IF already MOE “accredited”

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on November 19th, 2009

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    Hi Blog.  JK comments:

    Hi Debito:

    On the one hand, it looks like there’s hope, yet on the other hand unaccredited / 無認可校 (e.g. schools for Brazilian, Peruvian, Indian, etc students) get left out in the cold:

    Schools for foreigners, technical colleges included in DPJ’s free high school lesson plan

    文科省:高専も無償化…外国人学校なども 概算要求へ

    Ok, I give up — what’s ‘wrong’ with the schools for foreign students that prevents them from being approved / accredited?

    Barring a much-needed amendment to the Fundamental Law of Education, is there some hoop jumping that these schools can do to get the government’s 認可? -JK


    Schools for foreigners, technical colleges included in DPJ’s free high school lesson plan

    Mainichi Daily News October 14, 2009

    Technical colleges and schools attended by foreigners will be included in the Democratic Party of Japan’s pledge to make high school lessons free of charge, it has emerged.

    The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has decided to make high school courses at technical colleges and vocational schools subject to the move, together with various schools for foreigners. It plans to include the necessary expenses in next fiscal year’s budget allocation request.

    “We want to support learning chances for as many people as possible,” Deputy Education Minister Kan Suzuki said when questioned by the Mainichi.

    The government plans to make lesson fees for public high schools free of charge from April next year. It also plans to provide 120,000 yen a year to households with private high school students, and raise the amount of support to a maximum of 240,000 yen for low-income families.

    Suzuki said that since the average annual lesson fees at technical colleges exceeded 230,000 yen, the government planned to increase subsidies for low-income households in the same way as for students at private high schools.

    Various schools operating under the School Education Law will be included in the measure, even if their students are of foreign nationality, meaning the DPJ’s move will apply to schools for Korean students and to international schools. However, Suzuki indicated that schools operating without approval — commonly seen among schools such as those for Brazilian children — would not be included.

    “It is desirable that support is provided within the framework of the system,” he said, adding, “There is a need for revisions such as lowering the bar for approval.”

    Across Japan there are 5,183 high schools with a combined roll of about 3.35 million students. There are also 495 vocational schools with high school courses, attended by 38,000 students, together with 64 technical colleges attended by 59,000 students.

    It is expected that the budget figure will swell beyond the DPJ’s initial forecast of 450 billion yen as a result of the move.

    The standard when determining whether to increase subsidies for low-income households will be an annual income of 5 million yen. The government will increase the amount of support in stages, coordinating measures with the Ministry of Finance.

    Rather than the students or their guardians directly receiving financial support, the money will go directly to schools. When requesting increased support, applications are to be made to schools together with proof of the guardians’ income.

    (Mainichi Japan) October 14, 2009

    文科省:高専も無償化…外国人学校なども 概算要求へ











    毎日新聞 2009年10月14日 15時00分(最終更新 10月14日 15時17分)

    11 Responses to “Mainichi: Schools for foreigners, technical colleges included in DPJ’s free high school lesson plan. IF already MOE “accredited””

    1. Kwen Lou Says:

      Does this include public kosen schools (polytechnical institutions)at the high-school level?

    2. HO Says:

      The news says “kosen” (高専、高等専門学校) are inculded.

    3. iago Says:

      I do hope that if this happens, it means the subsidies will provide for kids to get an education who otherwise would fall through the cracks, and not merely subsidise those international schools which are largely populated by business ex-pats and the fees are paid by the employers (no idea if those are MOE accredited or not). Use my taxes toward fundamental education for all, by all means, but don’t use them reduce the costs and boost the profits of foreign corporations!

    4. Frodis Says:

      I’m curious to see how this plan will affect private high schools.

    5. Kimberly Says:

      Do you know why the schools in question aren’t accredited? It would be easy to assume that perhaps the curriculum (in the area of Japanese language and social sciences – Japanese history, politics etc?) does not meet all of the requirements… but in that case, I don’t think that most International schools intended for English speakers teach the level of Japanese that a public high school would either (and those are accredited? or not?). I do think that there have to be some standards, requiring accredidation does also prevent things like cult-based “education,” non-academic institutions such as modeling schools etc from claiming government funds… but if the government is declining accredidation to schools that ARE providing a comparable curriculum, something should be done.

      I agree with Iago in principle… I don’t like the idea of my taxes going to the benefit of a corprotation with money to burn. But I think it would be difficult to make a law that would recognize that difference without inadvetantly discriminating against the children of short-term residents who are paying the tuition themselves, and the expat kids are such a tiny percentage of the high school student population in general that it’s probably better to offer the benefit to TOO MANY people, than to risk not giving it to ENOUGH.

    6. E.P.Lowe Says:

      An aside here Debito –

      In the incident where a Japanese worker spilled Hydrochloric Acid on the Tokyo Subway it was initially reported by JNN that 3 foreigners had been detained for spreading a noxious substance by the police at the subway station concerned.

      Shades of that awful Sasebo incident a year or so back.

      — Need some links and substantiation please. And what’s this got to do with this blog entry?

    7. Level3 Says:

      So many far-too-predictable unforeseeables here.

      Free high school means more deserving kids who would have “fallen through the cracks” can get an education. But also probably means kids who sleep through and/or disrupt class, the “undeserving?” (hate to say it, but if you’re 16 and can’t behave like a human, you are undeserving in my book) will also increase in number. Though maybe they’ll just skip school and the schools can keep the money and use it on the kdis who want to learn?

      Private schools will probably get a chunk of the money. They’ll demand it, claiming free public school for all will hurt business (even if it doesn’t, since they probably can still use their reputations to get parents’ money, especially if the student-teacher ratio in public schools gets even worse due to the program) And they’ll get our tax money because the bureaucrats and politicians’ kids are more likely to be able to go to private schools (just as in the USA and elsewhere) and politicians will always approve funds for something that benefits their own wallets.

      When government programs distribute funding for “everyone” to attend school (using college as an example) by making money no object, they give the green light to schools to raise tuition, exactly because money is no object, just as quite liberal student loan programs in the USA have resulted in university tuition costs rising at usually double or triple the rate of inflation. Everyone can “afford” school, no matter the price, because you can get a government loan or grant. Universities have no incentive to reduce tuition, they keep the government money, and the government gets to worry about defaults and late payments.

      Other side effect. Give a $3000 school voucher to every parent, and you guarantee that NO school will charge any less than $3000 for tuition, and most low-end schools will charge just a bit over that, while the high end schools raise tuition by whatever fraction of $3000 they can get away with and still have parents feel they’re “saving money”.

      But it’s all very hard to say “No” to, isn’t it?
      It all seems great for your kid right now, but the whole system just makes it worse for future generations, like the pension system, or massive debt spending by governments. Basically stealing (making tuition prices far higher than they would be) from our grandchildren to pay for the education of our children.

    8. E.P.Lowe Says:

      Sorry, no links as yet – I was just watching the JNN 5:50 news and that’s what they said.

      As for posting in this blog entry – sorry, thought that was a standard way to contact you

    9. Frodis Says:

      Just to clarify a bit, in my previous post I mentioned “private” schools. I wasn’t intending to mean private as in ‘elite’ rich peoples’ kids’ schools kind of way but the one more common here in Japan are the ones that are simply not the state and federally-funded public schools. In my area, there are only about seven public schools and the remainder are private corporations in the junior and senior high school business. There are probably another four or so private high schools. This is a big concern and people here don’t seem to know how to react but there is a lot of genuine concern. I am assuming that private schools would have to receive funding from the government or they would indeed be put out of business. How could you induce someone to pay for something that they can otherwise get for free? There will still be a need for the private institutions — or at least their facilities — as there are not enough public schools to handle all the students even with declining enrollments. Would funding be given to private schools thereby making them quasi-public institutions? Would private companies fail and be replaced by ‘new’ public schools? I don’t know what remunerations public high schools get per student but private schools tend to be more expensive than the public option, in my understanding. If private schools were publicly funded but at a lower level than currently, how is that going to affect staffing and services? Those working in private high schools are already working at rates lower than their public school counterparts. From a personal standpoint, I’d like it if that meant private school employees were to be paid at rates level with their public school counterparts but I’d hate to think of being told to expect pay cuts and/or layoffs due to decreases in funding.

      P.S.It is easy to understand how E.P. Lowe could misdirect mail. I wondered myself how one would broach a new topic when the only option seemed to be submitting comments and hoping that Debito caught them in the approval process and would direct them to a new thread appropriately. Amidst the jumble of links at the top of the page is one to send mail but it is hardly featured prominently. Maybe the mail link could be more prominently displayed on the web site and perhaps the moderator could anticipate this might happen from time to time when a completely off-topic message comes through so as not to surprise.

      — Okay, sorry. I see.

      As for that last comment, it’s hard for me to make a separate blog entry just based upon that loose bit of information presented, though. If you want something separate, please submit with all your ducks in a row, please.

    10. Kimberly Says:

      To attempt to answer Frodis’ concerns… I think the plan IS to give private high schools some funding, isn’t it? The idea is that the funding would go toward tuition, but yes I suppose that the schools could choose to simply up tuition and use the government funds for something else.

      As far as people not “choosing to pay for something they can get for free,” correct me if I’m wrong (and it may depend somewhat on the area you live in too?), but while private elementary and jr. high schools seem to be considered to be “better,” most of the really elitist parents seem to WANT their kids to go to a public high school. At least in the city where I live, the public high schools are definitely seen as GOALS for the parents of smarter kids that I’ve talked to. They spend the money on private jr. high, juku etc, to try to get into a public high school and eventually a public university. I get the impression that most students who CAN pass the entrace exams to the public schools are already choosing to go to public high schools and universities… so private high schools would continue to fill the same niche, wouldn’t they? Students who couldn’t pass the exam for the public high school would then turn to a private high school, and there would still be plenty of students since there aren’t enough spaces at the public schools for them all.

      Now if they REALLY want to up the birth rate… the government needs to regulate those entrace exams and the public jr. high school curriculum, so that any student who does well in the public jr, high courses will already have the knowledge they need to pass the public high school and university entrance exams. Eliminate the need for juku (or the perceived need for juku, plenty of students pass the exams by studying on their own or with a parent or tutor) and the idea that a public jr, high school education is insufficient, and those parents who don’t have a second or third kid because education is too expensive will at least feel as though they have more options. I met so many RICH families when I was teaching English, who only had one child because they “couldn’t afford” a second… that may not have been the only reason, but it seems to be the excuse everyone comes up with… even if they live in Kichijoji, drive a Mercedes, and send their kids to ritzy private schools, they “can’t afford” to have a little brother or sister? (and that’s kind of off topic, but I do think that raising the birthrate IS one of the desired goals of this whole free high school idea)

    11. Edu Watch: Education ministry shows private schooling expenses are triple that of a public education; Education boards increasingly look at English ability in their teacher recruitment drives; & other news « EDUCATION IN JAPAN COMMUNITY Blog Says:

      […] abroad (Japan Times) [see also related news: U.S. loses its allure as a study destination] *** Debito comments on the Mainichi news article Schools for foreigners, technical colleges included in … *** Elsewhere in the world on education: When Creativity Rules the World by Bill Costello […]

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