|HOME SCHOOLING / INTERNATIONAL|
Japanese Press and Business Leaders Launch Home Schooling Movement
Famous for its highly structured educational system, Japan's public schools are plagued with increasing problems. Over 300,000 students per year are dropping out, bullying is on the rise, and morals are declining. The business community and the press recognize this downward spiral, and businesses are seeking solutions. Japanese corporations no longer want "factory workers." They want graduates who are individuals-with ingenuity, creativity, and independent thinking.
This past spring, four Japanese businessmen visited Home School Legal Defense Association to discuss launching a high school tutoring program. They wanted to know all about the U.S. home school movement. Unlike many other countries, the business community is driving Japan's home school movement, and the Japanese press is enthralled with the concept. After discussion, HSLDA convinced the businessmen to expand their tutoring program to include grades K-8, to start a national home school association, and to work towards legalizing home schooling in Japan.
Shortly after this meeting, Tokyo's two largest broadcasting companies-Tokyo Broadcasting Service (TBS) and Japan Broadcasting Service (NHK TV)-flew reporters halfway around the world to interview several home educating families as well as HSLDA about home schooling and the effectiveness of grassroots lobbying. Subsequently, two one-hour specials on home schooling aired in Japan.
In August, Atmark Corporation invited Chris Klicka to speak at Japan's first national home school conference and help launch the national Home School Support Association of Japan (HOSA). In Japan, the press' fascination with home schooling provided many opportunities for interviews, as well as a large press conference with all the major networks and newspapers in attendance. Over the next several days, Klicka was interviewed by the Daily Yomiuri, the Nikkei (The Wall Street Journal of Japan), the Tokyo Shimbun (the largest paper in Tokyo), Japan Today.com, and many others.
HOSA is endorsed by major business leaders, including the president of Microsoft of Japan, as well as the university community. In fact, HOSA President Shigeru Narita is an education professor at Hyogo University. HOSA board member Akio Hata is a professor at the Saitama Institute of Technology, and HOSA vice-chairman Kozo Hino is the president of Atmark. Hino and his advisor, Jun Adachi, were the main organizers of HOSA and were instrumental in involving the press.
Klicka met with a high level official in the Ministry of Education who, upon understanding the home school concept, highly endorsed the idea. Because Japan's compulsory attendance law is at the federal level, the Ministry of Education's decisions and opinions are very important to local school authorities.
TBS and NHK returned to the U.S. in fall 2000, to film for additional programs. After TBS' most recent documentary on home schooling, more than 300 interested viewers called HOSA for more information. HOSA now provides academic and legal support to more than 100 member families and arranges many home school seminars, educational field trips and other activities.
In the meantime, the Church and Home Educators Association of Japan (CHEA of Japan) has started with Hiro Inaba as president. Klicka encouraged CHEA and HOSA to work together as partners.
The two organizations are now looking for academic materials to translate into Japanese and working togetherto develop Japanese curricula.
CHEA of Japan
President: Hiro Inaba
Contact: Jun Adachi
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