Comparative Education
Online ISSN : 2185-2073
Print ISSN : 0916-6785
ISSN-L : 0916-6785
Articles
Situation of Local Education Policy for Foreign Children in Japan
Masataka KURIHARA
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2015 Volume 2015 Issue 50 Pages 3-23

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Abstract

  This paper explores the direction of local education policy for foreign children in Japan through survey analysis. There is no existing study that expresses nationwide data regarding policies for the education of foreign children in Japan. According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the number of foreign children in need of instruction was 24,840 in 770 municipalities in 2012.

  In this situation, a survey was conducted on local education policy for foreign children in Japan. Subjects of the survey were the superintendents of the boards of education in 1548 cities, towns and villages. Responses were received from 631 boards of education (40.8% answer rate). The survey contents concern the number of foreign children enrolled in public elementary and junior high schools, support for school attendance and support for non-school-attendance, the Japanese language instruction system, support for junior high school students of foreign nationalities to get into high schools, and consciousness of local boards of education on education policies for foreign children in Japan. These are special problems that children of foreign nationalities must face in the Japanese educational system.

  According to the survey, the percentage of municipalities in which foreign children attend school is just below 60%. The percentage of municipalities in which foreign children in need of Japanese instruction attend school is a little over 40%. This means that local education policy for foreign children has become a matter on which many local boards of education need to think seriously.

  Local boards of education send information packets to foreign parents whose child will begin school the following year. The percentage of boards of education using some foreign languages for these guides is 32.7%. The percentage of boards of education that do not hold a meeting for school attendance is 94.9%. The percentage of boards of education that have conducted surveys on non-school-attendance is 12.4%.

  With respect to Japanese language instruction, many boards of education dispatch an instructor to elementary or junior high schools which foreign children in need of such instruction attend. In addition, the percentage of boards of education providing opportunities for foreign children to study their mother tongue is 12.5%.

  The percentage of boards of education that check how many foreign students get into high schools is a little under 20%. The percentage of junior high school students of foreign nationalities getting into high schools is about 80%. The percentage of boards of education holding course guidance for junior high school students of foreign nationalities is less than 10%.

  In such circumstances, what kinds of local board of education carry out a policy for foreign children? Based on the analysis of this paper, policy tends to be carried out as the scale of foreign population becomes greater. Therefore, policies for foreign children depend on the demographic situation of local areas and governments, leading to a difference among local governments. Boards of education in Japan arrange policies for foreign children despite the lack of any clear nationwide legislative guidance. What results is an incongruent and inconsistent situation that is in immediate need of attention.

  Finally, an indication of the future direction of local education policy for foreign children is provided through recent tendencies within and among boards of education. Most boards of education tend to regard foreign children in public schools as policy objects. On the other hand, most boards of education do not tend to consider that they need to grasp the situation of the foreign nationals’ schools in Japan. This means that levels of administration excluding boards of education need to establish and (View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)

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