KANAGAWA / School for  Indian kids to open (Nov.1, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun 

The third floor of this building, a defunct primary school in Midori Ward, Yokohama, will be used as a school for Indian children from April.

A school will open in Midori Ward, Yokohama, in April to accommodate the children of Indians working in information technology businesses who live in and around the city.

A growing number of Indian IT firms have been setting up Japan bases in the city, particularly in the Minato Mirai district, and the municipal government’s Economic and Tourism Bureau hopes to attract more Indian businesses by improving the education environment for Indian children.

The school will be run by the India International School in Japan (IISJ), a nonprofit organization that opened the first Indian school in Tokyo in 2004 with 27 students. It now has about 350 students.

The Tokyo-based NPO has rented from the Yokohama municipal government the 1,200-square-meter third floor of the defunct Kirigaoka No. 3 Primary School in Midori Ward for the new school.

Children of Indians working for Indian companies in Yokohama will be able to take classes from the kindergarten- to high school-level. Indian curricula will be used so that children will not have fallen behind in their studies when they return to India. English and high-level mathematics–characteristic of Indian education–will be taught by Indian teachers. The children will also have an option of taking a course of Japanese as a second language.

The city has succeeded in attracting high-growth Indian businesses, such as Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro Technologies, both of which are among the top information technology companies in India. These two companies set up bases in the Minato Mirai district in 2002.

The number of Indians registered with the municipal government has been growing–about 1,300 compared with about 1,100 two years ago.

In 2006, Yokohama Mayor Hiroshi Nakada exchanged a memorandum with an NPO based in Singapore in connection with opening an Indian school in the city. However, the municipal government abandoned this plan as only about 20 students applied to enroll, only 10 percent of the planned number.

Assuming that the new school probably would have an enrollment of about 30 students in the first year, the IISJ plans to cut running costs by having teachers teach more than one subject.

V.B. Rupani, the school’s vice principal, said he would use his connections to encourage Indian children to enroll at the school.

Citing the expectations of friends and colleagues in the school, he said he was determined to make the school a success and deepen relationships with the city.

Rupani, 61, is a former member of the board of directors of the Indian Merchants Association of Yokohama and the president of a trading firm.

For further information, in English only, call IISJ Tokyo School at          (03) 3635-7850         

(Nov. 1, 2008)

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