The education ministry plans to allow foreign children living in Japan to enter junior high school without having to graduate from elementary school to give them more opportunities to participate in the mandatory education system, ministry officials said Saturday.
The proposed move is aimed at coping with a rise in the number of non-Japanese children as foreigners, including Japanese Brazilians, are tending to live in Japan for a longer period of time, the officials said.
The measure would enable foreign kids going to international schools and other schools for foreign children to enter regular junior high schools on the path toward pursuing higher education in Japan.
It would also open the door for children who were unable to go to elementary schools for economic reasons to take part in mandatory education at junior high schools.
The school education law stipulates that parents must enter their children in junior high school after graduating from elementary school. A fine of up to ¥100,000 is imposed on violators.
The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry has until now interpreted the provision to mean that children cannot enter junior high school unless they graduate from elementary school.
It has applied the same rule to foreign children.
An advisory panel of experts presented a report to the education ministry Friday recommending that foreign children be admitted to junior high schools to help them get accustomed to and be active in Japanese society.
The ministry, however, is not planning to ease the admission qualifications for Japanese children and will continue to require them to graduate from elementary school for entrance into junior high school, according to the officials.
Under the planned step, Japanese children going to an international school would still not be able to enter a regular junior high school.
The education ministry is opposed to easing admission requirements for Japanese children out of concern it could result in a collapse of the compulsory education system, the officials said.