An article appeared in the evening edition of the Sankei Shinbun on Tuesday, 28th April, looking at emerging trends in international education in relation to private universities in the Kansai region. Kwansei Gakuin’s Professor Sakakura highlights some of the positive potential of the upcoming merger for Kwansei Gakuin and the Senri & Osaka International Schools.
An English translation from the original Japanese article is as follows:
Strengthening international education
Affiliated International Schools
Kwansei Gakuin, Doshisha
During these times of low birthrate, where education is being called upon to meet a diverse set of needs, there is a movement amongst private universities in the Kansai region to target foreign national children with the establishment of international schools. Next spring the Kwansei Gakuin Educational Foundation (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo) will merge with the Senri International School Foundation (Mino-shi, Osaka) which operates the Osaka International School. Both parties are aiming, in making the most of their existing content, to strengthen their international education programs. With the Doshisha Educational Foundation (Kyoto) also making preparations to establish a new ‘international elementary school’ in the Kansai Science City (Gakkentoshi), internationalization is emerging as a new keyword in the drive to attract students.
Next April Kwansei Gakuin University will open the new School of International Studies, this happening at the same time as the realisation of the merger with the Senri International School Foundation. When asked about the aim of the merger, Kwansei Gakuin’s Administrative Trustee, Professor Atsuhide Sakakura, said that “the environment at SISF provides a ‘mini international community’ inside Japan, with English being used naturally in the day-to-day lives of the domestic, returnee and foreign national students as they learn together. We want to harness its merits in furthering a rich and varied international education. It also provides a strong card to draw in high-caliber students.”
Founded in 1991 with support from the Kansai financial sector, SISF has a middle and high school for Japanese nationals and returnees from overseas as well as the Osaka International School intended for students and children of foreign nationals. Enrolment totals approximately 700 students. With students of different backgrounds learning under one roof, the schools were the first in the country to adopt such a structure and have put considerable efforts into international education.
Following the merger the names of the schools will change to “Senri International Middle and High School of Kwansei Gakuin” and “Osaka International School of Kwansei Gakuin”. With an expansion of the current 15 or so student allotment for recommended entry to Kwansei Gakuin University from the SIS Middle and High School, in principle, those who wish to proceed onto the university will be able to do so. Further, as well as looking positively to provide opportunity for exchange with the Kwansei Gakuin Middle and High Schools, if they are able to allow for students from OIS to enter the university, the majority of whom currently proceed to university overseas, according to Professor Sakakura, “we can expect see the synergistic advantage of an international education.”
At the same time the ‘international elementary school’ being planned by Doshisha is in Seika, Nishikizuchiku. This has been done with land being provided for the project by Kizushi, Kyoto, after strong calls for an international school to meet the learning needs of the children of the many overseas researchers working in Gakkentoshi.
The plan is for a six year school to meet the needs of domestic and returnee students at the Doshisha International Elementary School (with a total of 60 students in 2 classes in each grade level), and foreign national students at the 12 year Doshisha International School (30 student class in each grade level). The schools are due to open, respectively, in April and September of 2011. In regard to the establishment of these new schools, Doshisha’s public relations department’s Chihiro Sumitani said that, “in the midst of continuing globalization, the aim, on a whole school basis, is to further internationalization. Founding an affiliated international school will help in raising overall standards in English ability.”
Senri School website / The original article is available here on the Sankei website: http://www.sankei.co.jp/kyoiku/topkizi141/index.html