Two unique movements in Aichi education
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The Hundred Million Yen Project
Have you seen a group of high school students, wearing different uniforms and carrying a box in their hands, shouting “Please donate to The Hundred Million Yen Project scholarship fund”? I was touched when I saw them in Kanayama station, trying to help other high school students who, due to financial constraints, will have to abandon high school.
The fund is unique to Aichi. Established in 1976, private high school teachers came together to establish a fund to support students in financial hardship. At that time public high schools only had capacity for around 60% of the students who wished to attend, while the school fee for private schools was, on average, 33 times that of public schools. This meant that, even though a student wished to attend high school, if they didn’t find one of the limited places available in the public high schools, they (and their families) had no option but to find significant sums of money in order to complete their secondary education. This is obviously a breach of the right to equal opportunity in education.
Thankfully, due to strong demands to ensure equal rights in education by teachers, parents and students, Aichi local government has begun providing limited subsidies of private schools’ tuition. This means that currently, on average, a private high school will be charging a student only 5 times as much as a public high school. However, this does not mean that all those who wish to attend high school can afford to. In Japan, private high schools are neither just for rich students to pursue high quality of education nor for those who did not have good enough grades at junior high schools. Private high schools are an essential provider of secondary education, providing places for one third of all secondary students.
The fund works to support students who would have no option but to abandon secondary education due to the expense. The fund reached in April 2006 one hundred million yen (approximately US$ 1 million) and scholarships have been provided to about 800 students.
Now it is their second try for another hundred million yen. For the sake of equal rights to education, we encourage you to support this cause.
Summer Seminar – a dream school
Summer Seminar is an ideal of school. Unlike our normal schools, anyone may become a lecturer at this seminar, and likewise anyone may become a student for any seminar. This seminar is organized by people from four different sectors working together; teachers, students, parents, and public voluntary participants. Most of the lectures are delivered by public volunteers, who wish to share their skills and knowledge with students.
The seminar series, that started in 1988 with 8 classes and 180 participants, has now grown to approximately 1,200 classes with more than 35,000 participants over the three-day event. The appreciable difference of Summer Seminar is that first, there are so many keen participants from both the teaching and student sides. Summer Seminar, supported by many volunteers, plays a unique role in the local community by providing an opportunity for both lecturers and class participants to demonstrate their desire to learn, which after all is the most important element in any type of education.
This year the Summer Seminar will be held on 19th, 20th and 21st of July at Aichi Shukutoku High School and other locations in the Hoshigaoka area. Entry is free of charge, booking not required. Details are available at http://www.ask-net.jp/summer/