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Old Apr 8, 12, 9:49 pm   #1
 
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The closest thing to homeschooling in Japan

http://www.47news.jp/CN/201204/CN2012040901001538.html

On an island in an inland sea, elementary school opens with a lone student

On April 9th, on the island of Heigun in the inland sea about 20 kilometers south of the city of Yanagi in Yamaguchi Prefecture, the opening ceremonies for the start of school took place on the only elementary school on the island, reopening for the first time in 9 years...of course, with the only child on the island, six-year old Nobuko Matsukawa.

After seeing off it's final graduate, the school closed in 2003. On this island with a population of 423 with over 80% of the population over age 65, Nobuko is the only child under 20 on the island. A resident expressed the hope that "if the school reopens, maybe more young people will come"

Nobuko's father, 62-year old 潤 (can't tell how to read it...can be read many ways...Atsushi, Hiroshi, Junji, etc.) moved to the island from Yokohama five years prior. Concerned about sending his young daughter on the 100 minute one way trip to the mainland for schooling, the city built a small building on the grounds where the old school stood. Preparations for the opening were done by the principal and one additional teaching staff.

Morning of April 9th, Yanagii City, Yamaguchi Prefecture: Nobuko Matsukawa with her mother Michie, starting school with a smile at Heigun East City Elementary School (yes, apparently there used to also be a Heigun West City Elementary School...)



EDIT: A different article says that there are two other smaller children on the island, and that there were 399 children attending this school in 1958.

Last edited by hailstorm; Apr 8, 12 at 9:58 pm.. Reason: Mistakenly wrote Junko for Nobuko, more info
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Old Apr 9, 12, 3:51 am   #2
 
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Had a friend who sent their kids to elementary school in a rural area about 15 years ago. 400 students were there then. 15 now.
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Old Apr 9, 12, 5:43 am   #3
 
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They actually tore down the old school and built her a new one. I'm surprised that all of the old people had no issue with using their tax money in this manner (as well as paying for two people to teach one student)

I might've considered moving to an island if I could get a private school out of the deal.
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Old Apr 9, 12, 1:59 pm   #4
 
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They actually tore down the old school and built her a new one. I'm surprised that all of the old people had no issue with using their tax money in this manner (as well as paying for two people to teach one student)

I might've considered moving to an island if I could get a private school out of the deal.
I'm sure it all came out of the national coffers. The locals probably didn't pay a penny ...ooops yen.
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Old Apr 9, 12, 4:56 pm   #5
 
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It claims to be a 立 school. Doesn't that mean that the city pays for it?

Last edited by hailstorm; Apr 9, 12 at 5:45 pm..
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Old Apr 9, 12, 6:48 pm   #6
 
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The closest thing to homeschooling -- unless you're a family of foreign nationals, in which case your kids aren't subject to compulsory education...

I believe that elementary and junior high schools (other than private ones) are the responsibility of municipal governments, but they can borrow easy money from the central government to finance them.

Last edited by joejones; Apr 9, 12 at 6:54 pm..
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Old Apr 9, 12, 7:11 pm   #7
 
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To my knowledge there are at least five different kinds of schools...公立 市立 国立 私立 and インター. I admit to being confused on all of the differences to this day.
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Old Apr 9, 12, 7:32 pm   #8
 
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The closest thing to homeschooling -- unless you're a family of foreign nationals, in which case your kids aren't subject to compulsory education...
Well actually foreigners are subject to compulsory education, but the authorities just turn a blind eye to it. The international schools are not "real" schools (legally they are the same things as cooking schools or ikebana schools) and attendance does does not meet the compulsory education requirement.
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Old Apr 9, 12, 7:43 pm   #9
 
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Well actually foreigners are subject to compulsory education, but the authorities just turn a blind eye to it. The international schools are not "real" schools (legally they are the same things as cooking schools or ikebana schools) and attendance does does not meet the compulsory education requirement.
I think you have two issues confused here. Japanese people are legally not supposed to send their kids to international schools because the international schools do not fulfill compulsory education requirements. But there is no compulsory education requirement for non-Japanese in Japan, as the constitution is drafted such that only Japanese nationals are subject to the requirement.

Wikipedia on 義務教育:

Quote:
日本において、「保護者が就学させなければならない子」は次の3条件を満たしている子である。なお、ここで いう保護者とは「子に対して親権を行う者」であり、親権を行う者のないときは「未成年後見人」 である。

1. 満6歳に達した日の翌日以後における最初の学年の初めから、満15歳に達した日の属する学年の終わりまでに ある子。(学校教育法の新第2章「義務教育」より)
学校教育法施行規則および年齢計算ニ関スル法律に基づけば、4月1日内までに満6歳となった子から4月1日 内までに満14歳となった子が該当する。この9年間の義務教育に該当する年齢は、(法律上の)学齢とも呼ば れる。

2. 日本国内に在住している子。
学校教育法施行令において「学齢簿の編製は、当該市町村の住民基本台帳に基づいて行なうものとする」とされ ている。学齢簿に基づいて、就学先の学校が指定される。

3. 保護者が日本国民である子。
日本国憲法の第26条第2項、教育基本法の第5条第1項においては、義務を負うのは「国民」であるので、保 護者に日本国民が含まれない子は、該当しない。
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Old Apr 9, 12, 10:43 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by joejones View Post
I think you have two issues confused here. Japanese people are legally not supposed to send their kids to international schools because the international schools do not fulfill compulsory education requirements. But there is no compulsory education requirement for non-Japanese in Japan, as the constitution is drafted such that only Japanese nationals are subject to the requirement.

Wikipedia on 義務教育:
Interesting. I had always assumed this was an issue with all students at international schools, but according to the wikipedia article both the guardian (parent) and the child have to be Japanese in order for the rule to apply. So I guess it just impacts Japanese and dual-national children. Also I had assumed it was a statutory requirement not a constitutional one.

Thanks for info!
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Old Apr 9, 12, 11:16 pm   #11
 
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Originally Posted by joejones View Post
I think you have two issues confused here. Japanese people are legally not supposed to send their kids to international schools because the international schools do not fulfill compulsory education requirements. But there is no compulsory education requirement for non-Japanese in Japan, as the constitution is drafted such that only Japanese nationals are subject to the requirement.
Dual citizens can also be made exempt from compulsory education requirements, according to the Ministry of Education and a Bunch of Other Things:

Quote:
二重国籍者については、「家庭事情等から客観的に将来外国の国籍を選択する可能性が強いと認められ、かつ、 他に教育を受ける機会が確保されていると認められる事由があるとき」には、保護者と十分協議の上、就学義務 の猶予または免除を認めることができるとされている。(昭和59年文部省通知)
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Old Apr 10, 12, 1:27 am   #12
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My kids go to international schools which are heads and shoulders above anything the Japanese can provide in terms of an elementary, middle, or high school experience. (couched to allow for the very good math scores of the Japanese school robot product).

Totally legal too.
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Old Apr 10, 12, 1:44 am   #13
 
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Originally Posted by mjm View Post
My kids go to international schools which are heads and shoulders above anything the Japanese can provide in terms of an elementary, middle, or high school experience. (couched to allow for the very good math scores of the Japanese school robot product).

Totally legal too.
A reminder that we're talking about gimu kyoiku here, not gimu keiken, or whatever is equivalent to the "school experience" you speak of.

Personally, in this day and age, I think it more important to learn stuff than attend a senior prom. Character can be developed outside of the school system.
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Old Apr 10, 12, 2:11 am   #14
 
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Well, having done school on both sides of the pond, I can't say that kids on either side necessarily learn more. And I am personally leaning against sending my kids to international school out of the fear that they will think the overpaid expat circles are somehow "normal..." but now we are getting wayyy OT.
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Old Apr 10, 12, 2:49 am   #15
 
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I'm sure it all came out of the national coffers. The locals probably didn't pay a penny ...ooops yen.
Indeed. The only problem with this type of school funding is that the villagers will eventually run out of someone else's money. (Apologies to Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher).

I once visited a rural school which had two classrooms for each year group - each with a capacity of 40 kids. Once upon a time, it was pretty full. However, by the mid 1990s it had been reduced to about 20 kids total. This particular village (population 2,000) continued to host 3 nursery schools, 3 elementary schools, 1 junior high school, a school bus, and one school meals kitchen. Each school had an apartment block to accommodate the teachers, since it was in a "remote" location. (However, the construction of several expensive tunnels meant that it was actually only 30 minutes drive from the nearest city).

When I expressed the opinion that it might be more responsible to consolidate these facilities and bus kids to school, I was told that such a heinous plan would spell death for the community (which also boasted 2 swimming pools, 1 newly dug spa, at least 3 community centres and 3 all-weather gateball courses for the elderly). Did the 2,000 residents pay for all that from their own taxes? I think not ...

Somehow the largesse didn't convince young couples that they had a future in the village. All young people moved out as soon as they got married - even the ones who were employed at the 40-person strong yakuba (town hall). Rather than living on the farms they'd grown up on, they all wanted to move to a crummy apartment in the next city and commute in.

The village has now been subsumed into two or three neighbouring towns.
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Last edited by jib71; Apr 10, 12 at 3:11 am..
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