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Outside teachers, multimedia recommended for foreign children's education in Japan

The building for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is seen in this file photo taken in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on July 26, 2018. (Mainichi/Naoaki Hasegawa)

TOKYO -- Recommendations for creating an educational framework for foreign children in Japan who require extra Japanese-language assistance were presented at a meeting of experts held by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology on Aug. 28.

The panel suggested using outside personnel such as Japanese language teachers, as well as developing educational video content. A budget for the changes could be drawn up by the next fiscal year at the earliest.

At Japan's publicly administered institutions including elementary, junior high and high schools across the country, some 44,000 pupils were judged to be in need of Japanese language education in fiscal 2016. But around 10,400 of them were said to be in unsupported positions where they were not able to receive assistance.

Many schools voiced concerns that they didn't have the staff to support such children, or that they didn't know how they should be teaching them.

To improve the situation, the proposals set a goal of obtaining the involvement of the approximately 18,000 Japanese language teachers in the private sector known as of 2018. The panel suggested enhancing training specialized for school environments while at the same time allowing instructors without a teaching license to teach as part-time teachers.

It also proposed video content designed to help train those who will be teaching beginners, and indicated it intends to develop online teaching resources for intermediate and advanced learners.

The panel of experts was established in April, after the minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Masahiko Shibayama, was advised on the issue of foreign children's education by the Central Council for Education.

It discusses issues relating to securing chances for foreign children to obtain a place at school, and ways to improve instructors' teaching skills. A report is expected to be compiled before the end of this year, which will then be reflected in changes made to the ministry of education's budget from the next fiscal year and onwards.

(Japanese original by Haruna Okuyama, City News Department)

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