Wednesday,20 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1400, (5 - 11 July 2018)
Wednesday,20 February, 2019
Issue 1400, (5 - 11 July 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Education from Japan

Mai Samih finds out what pupils now have to do to apply to Egypt’s new Japanese schools


Education from Japan
Education from Japan

On 2 July, the Ministry of Education once again gave students the opportunity to apply for enrolment in Egyptian-Japanese schools after several months of revising admission standards.

“Applications last for two weeks only, and the schools will function starting from the academic year 2018-2019,” announced spokesman for the ministry Ahmed Khairy.

He said that the applications could be made through a link on the ministry website to ensure “neutrality and equal opportunities” and that the schools would be providing children with a “distinguished education”.

 Fees will stand at LE10,000, and the language of teaching will be Arabic, said a ministry press release.

The schools neither teach Japanese nor do they have Japanese teachers or a Japanese curriculum. The idea is that they will implement the Japanese Tokkatsu Plus system with the assistance of Japanese expertise.

The decision has left some parents cold. Noha, the mother of a six-year-old who was accepted by one of the Japanese schools before the acceptance criteria were modified, said that the new fees were beyond her family’s budget.

Had the fees been less she would not have hesitated to apply, she said.

However, other parents are keen to try the schools out, but face technical difficulties. “Every time I try to open the link, it does not open,” said Mohamed Kamal, a parent. “I wish that the ministry would do something about it. It would be a shame if I was unable to apply for my children and have them miss such a unique experience.”

“Despite the increased fees, it is still more affordable than international schools. I think it will provide children with a good education,” said Mohamed Ahmed, who is eager to have his children enroll in the schools.

These parents are eager that their children should benefit from the Japanese system. The Tokkatsu Plus system aims at harmonising the development of the mind and body of a child, while strengthening his or her personality, enhancing positive and practical behaviour, and working to build better lives.

It also aims at helping children form human relationships and enhancing their ability to self-develop.

This is achieved through group activities like sports and cultural days, teaching children personal cleanliness, classroom cleanliness, and taking turns in class responsibilities. All these things help a child be considerate and enables him to accomplish tasks with the help of others.

In October 2017, almost 30,000 students had applied to enter the new Japanese schools, Assistant Minister of Education Hind Galal told Al-Ahram Weekly in an interview. Of those, 1,800 had been accepted. However, schooling for these children did not start.

A presidential decree postponed the beginning of the school year for children accepted by Egypt’s new Japanese schools. “President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi postponed the opening of the new Japanese schools in order that the selection process of students and teachers reached the highest levels of transparency,” a press statement said in October 2017.

Students already accepted in the Japanese schools were sent back to their original schools.

To apply for acceptance now, students must have Egyptian parents, their residence must be near the school, and they must be of the appropriate age.

Applying for the schools is not only open to students, but also to teachers as well. There is an online application for teacher trainers from the ministry or from outside with the aim of choosing Egyptian teachers able to pass on what they have learnt to others.

“The ministry is seeking teachers with experience in the field of training to become the first who receive training on the new syllabi,” said Mohamed Omar, deputy minister of education for teachers’ affairs.

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