Ministry funds programs to hone high schoolers

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

The education ministry is pumping money into selected high schools nationwide to help nurture certain vocational and international skills, in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth strategy announced last June, according to a ministry official.

The ministry recently designated 10 schools for its Super Professional High School project, while another 56 make up the Super Global High School program for the 2014 academic year beginning this month.

Each of the 10 Super Professional high schools will get about ¥8 million this year, while the 56 others will receive up to ¥16 million each to pursue their own study projects, according to ministry officials.

“The structure of industry has been changing and becoming more complicated. . . . Schools need to foster students who can flourish in new areas,” a ministry official said.

One in the Super Professional category, Shizuoka Prefectural Yaizu Suisan (fishery) High School in the port of Yaizu, aims to nurture talent in the growing and globalizing Japanese fisheries industry.

Another, Fukuoka Agricultural High School in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, wants to turn out “agri-specialists” with superior horticultural and managerial skills.

“The conventional vocational education tends to aim for securing jobs and acquiring certifications, but in this project we will support schools providing vocational education that aims further than those purposes,” the official said.

Depending on the school, the special designation will run for three years or five years.

Meanwhile, the purpose of the Super Global High School project is to get students to actively engage in more outward-looking studies at university to become globally competitive, as Abe announced as part of his growth strategy last June, according to another ministry official.

“We ask high schools applying for this program to provide educational opportunities for students to learn global issues actively and carry out some kinds of projects by themselves,” the official said, adding business circles are calling for students to acquire problem-solving and logical thinking skills.

One of the 56 Super Global schools, Fukui Prefectural Koshi High School in the city of Fukui, has set a theme to “create global leaders who can contribute to development and hope of East Asia.”

Another, Kansai University Senior High School in Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, aims to nurture “innovators” who can contribute to maintaining a sustainable global environment.