In September 2019, a report by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) released the first official estimate of the number of out-of-school children in Japan’s growing international community. A nationwide survey of local education authorities found that as many as 20,000 non-Japanese school-age children, or nearly one-fifth of the total, may be out of school. That figure would put Japan’s international community in the same league as sub-Saharan Africa, the region in the world with the most elevated number of children not attending primary school (according to a recent UNESCO report).
How to explain such a low enrolment rate of foreign school-age children in Japan, an industrially advanced country known for its high academic qualifications? Below, I will try to give some answers based on my two-year research on the education of immigrant children in Kera City, Gifu Prefecture. (In this article, I use the terms “immigrant children” and “foreign children” to refer to school-age children who are registered as Japanese residents and do not have Japanese nationality
Q: What are the key points that foreign children need to pay attention to?
A: In Japan, non-Japanese residents are not required to register their children in school. However, if you wish to enroll them in a public school [primary or secondary school], your child is entitled to the same free education provided to Japanese students under international human rights treaties.
Readers may be surprised to find out that foreign residents of Japan, including long-term immigrants, are not legally required to send their children to school. After all, the Declaration of Human Rights not only states that “everyone has the right to education,” but also states that “primary education is compulsory”. Compulsory education is an obligation to parents and guardians and a mechanism to guarantee the universal right to education. However, even primary education is not compulsory for foreigners in Japan.
This is in line with the central government’s interpretation of the Japanese constitution. Paragraph 2 states: “Everyone [subete kokumin] needs to provide all boys and girls under his protection with the proper education provided for by law. In this context, kokumin is interpreted as “Japanese” and therefore not a Japanese guard Excluded. However tax liability, kokumin is expanded to “Japanese residents.” The central government interprets the law according to local conditions, effectively depriving the children of foreign citizens of the right to education.
The Declaration of Human Rights also states that “parents have the right to choose the type of education that should be given to their children”. But the Japanese government actually denies this right to foreigners, denying them recognition of Japan’s ethnic schools and international schools, so there is no basic level of regulation and financial support. There are about 200 such child-friendly schools of different ethnicities: Brazilians, Nepalese, Koreans, etc. – But almost none are classified as gakkō (schools) by the government. Consequently, children associated with them are not entitled to regular health checks and other basic social services undertaken by the state. By doing so, Japan has created a society that shies away from its responsibility for the basic health and safety of immigrant children.
Foreigners and the right to education
First, we need to understand how the Japanese government views and treats the education of immigrant children. MEXT provided key information in a question and answer session on alien registration posted on its official website:
How many children fell into the Japanese health system at this critical time in history? Let’s take a look at the latest issue that the latest report shows that 5.9 percent of all foreign children attend institutions that the government does not recognize as gakkō. The other 9.9% are uncompensated and may not have attended school at all. (It’s hard to blame him when one wonders if the Japanese government really cares about their lives when about one in 10 children goes missing.) These two categories of children together make up about 21,000 children or about 21,000 of all immigrant children in Japan. one-sixth of. In Japan, its health is not the responsibility of the government.
fall out of the crack
When the third wave of COVID-19 infections hit Japan in November 2020, one of the ethnic schools became the epicenter of a larger outbreak. The source of the infection appears to be non-Japanese workers who continued to go to work because their employment status did not allow for telecommuting. The virus spread to their children and from there to others in the school. However, local authorities lack information and mechanisms to interlope in a convenient manner. Punished by the incident, the central government set up a committee to investigate the health and hygiene of minority and international schools. A survey was performed and the committee produced a report highlighting the wide gap between gakkō and Japanese ethnic schools, which often lack infirmaries and trained health workers. However, even as the pandemic continues, no follow-up has been taken to protect the health and lives of immigrant children.
Diversity and the privilege to grade education
Also in late March 2022, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology released the latest report on students (2021 school year) who need Japanese language classes in public schools nationwide. According to the report, 1 in 20 people did not attend secondary school or find a job after graduating from junior high school. Of those who graduate from high school, one in seven will drop out and become unemployed. The dropout rate for students requiring Japanese language instruction is 5%, five times the dropout rate for Japanese secondary schools as a whole. MEXT also reported that 5.1% of those who needed Japanese language classes in elementary or junior high school attended special education classes (small classes for children with disabilities), compared to 3.6% of the population
As cited in the Q&A above, it is indeed free for foreigners to enroll their children in public primary or secondary schools. The lure of free education helps explain why the vast majority of immigrant children attend Japanese public schools. However, given the relatively high rates of college dropouts and unemployment, it is worth asking whether foreign students have received quality training that suits their needs. This is quite a miserable situation today, as adequate and quality education is essential to realizing one’s potential as a productive member of society.
If Japan is to attract valuable human resources from around the world, it must abandon laws, policies, and practices that marginalize large segments of society based on nationality. Not only must it guarantee every child the freedom to quality education, but it must also give meaning to this right, along with the right of guardians to choose the type of education they think is best for their child. This means recognizing all schools in grades 1-9 as gakkō in accordance with Human Rights and giving all children in Japan the freedom to receive an education that respects their diversity. In a country with 200,000 dropouts already (according to MEXT 2020), such reforms would benefit not only foreign children but also the many Japanese children who live in the country under stress and often struggle. asphyxia. of this nation. The environment and general schools are in crisis.
You can check this out too: http://japanandjapanese.com/japan-registers-…ka-surpass-20000/