First ‘Japanese’ international school debuts

CHIBA (Kyodo) The first international school to adopt the Japanese education system opened its doors Saturday in Chiba’s booming Makuhari area.

About 170 children, accompanied by their parents and guardians, attended the entrance ceremony at Makuhari International School. The new facility, which operates kindergarten and elementary school programs, is situated in Mihama Ward, Chiba.

Principal Paul Rogers of Britain said at the ceremony he was proud to be able to welcome the students and that he was aiming to make MIS the best international school in the world.

The school is certified as an educational institution operating under the supervision of the Education, Culture, Sports and Technology Ministry.

Schools that hold classes mainly in English or other foreign languages usually cannot be certified as Japanese education facilities in light of the rigorous curriculum guidelines set by the education ministry.

But MIS has taken advantage of a special deregulation program that allows more flexible application of the guidelines.

Since MIS operates under the Japanese education system, students there will have no trouble switching to regular Japanese schools or moving on to Japanese elementary or junior high schools.

All classes, except Japanese-language courses, are conducted in English to cater to children of foreign nationals working in Japan and Japanese children who have returned from abroad.

The school will accept students aged from 3 to 9, or fourth-graders, in its first year. It plans to add fifth-graders in its second year and sixth-graders from 2011.

Teachers have been recruited from five countries, including Canada and New Zealand.