Riso Kyoiku to double cram schools (Japan Times, Sep. 16, 2011)


Riso Kyoiku Co., a Japanese cram school operator targeting wealthy parents, plans to double its centers to about 250 in five years to spur revenue, Chairman Mitsugu Iwasa said.

Riso Kyoiku aims to double the number of students to about 40,000 by adding schools mainly in Tokyo, and is considering expanding abroad, Iwasa said. Deutsche Bank AG will buy options from Riso Kyoiku to purchase as much as ¥4.2 billion in Treasury stock, according to a filing to the Tokyo Stock Exchange this week.

“The firm is expanding its business in Japan and seeking to launch operations overseas,” Iwasa, 62, said. “We will also aggressively seek mergers and acquisitions with firms that enable us to work together for mutual benefit.”

Riso Kyoiku has boosted revenue for 26 years in a row since its 1985 foundation, documents on its website show. Revenue climbed 8 percent to ¥18.8 billion in the year ended Feb. 28


TOMAS Riso Kyoiku Co., Ltd. – English website

Riso Kyoiku or TOMAS as it is more commonly known, is carving out a niche for itself by offering a more exclusive private education emphasizing the individuality of its students, distinguishing itself from mainstream juku that tend to emphasize entrance exam deviation values and academic performance. A newer juku, established since 1985, it is a niche player catering to wealthier parents.

Its mission statement: “Riso Kyoiku Co., Ltd., which operates the “TOMAS” private study Jukus, has maintained the same basic philosophy since its establishment: “Students’ individuality, and individual differences, are infinite. True education – Ideal education – is capable of responding accurately and appropriately to those individual differences”.”

According to the TOMAS cramschool website (operated by Riso Kyoiku), here are some of the outstanding characteristics of its programs on offer:
– TOMAS offers the “ideal education environment” for children – an environment in which they can express their individuality in the fields where they excel, such as music, art, or sports.
– TOMAS, offers only “personal study classes”, with one student and one teacher to each classroom.
This one-on-one instruction, in keeping with a personalized curriculum designed to meet the needs of each individual student, enables efficient studies that ensure the best possible results for each child.- TOMAS distinguishes itself from other jukus that “take a “cram school” approach, pressing students to focus only on entrance exams”, by its know-how in private instruction not found at other Juku schools and by striving “to offer an educational environment that enables students to pass entrance exams for the most demanding schools, while maintaining a healthy balance between studies and non-academic activities.”
– TOMAS offers a unique and personalized curriculum is created in keeping with the student’s academic level and the requirements of the school that the student wants to attend.

–  TOMAS attracts the best instructors by offering the top benefits in the Juku industry and offers specialized instruction for each subject and each student taught exclusively by instructors specializing in that field with a thorough knowledge of entrance exam requirements in that subject
– Full-time managers rigorously manage classes, and hold regular meetings with students, both alone and with the parents. This three-way collaboration – by the student, the school, and the family – makes it possible to quickly identify and resolve any issues that might arise
– Parents and students can select the most appropriate teacher, based on preferences such as gender or teaching style (e.g., strict vs. friendly). Teachers can also be reassigned if necessary.
Apart from its exclusively private instruction, TOMAS uses three proven support systems to ensure that students are successful in passing entrance exams for the most demanding schools:
1. Group instruction, including a single-day, 12-hour “Entrance exam training camp” and special courses where the curriculum is based on a thorough analysis of questions appearing on the most difficult entrance exams, help to increase motivation and competitive spirit, and to improve the students’ abilities
2. “Video Courses” that are useful in strengthening understanding of specified topics and reinforcing studies through additional private instruction; and “Hello e-Sensei”, a system through which students can receive private instruction from students at prominent universities such as Waseda or the University of Tokyo.
3. Academic guidance seminar events – to help students decide which school to choose, and to let them know what to expect in the entrance examinations; to report on the latest analyses of exams, with presentations by Presidents and Principals from prominent educational institutions, and gatherings where representatives of as many as 300 well-known schools (e.g., Waseda Junior High and High School) come together to offer individual consultations with students wishing to attend those schools
Riso Kyoiku Group, also operates four subsidiaries – Nihon Edunet, Meimonkai, Shingakai, and School Tour Ship