On the back of a rise in foreign students, the education ministry plans to expand financial assistance to local governments so they can operate junior high schools at nighttime, informed sources said.
The ministry will increase the amount of funds for night school assistance from the previous year in its budget request for fiscal 2015, which starts next April, the sources said.
Night school students used to mainly be Japanese adults who were unable to finish compulsory education due to the confusion during and just after the war. People who missed compulsory education due to reasons such as economic difficulties and bullying also go to such schools.
But as of May 2013, non-Japanese accounted for 1,442 of all 1,879 students attending nighttime junior high schools.
Currently, there are 31 such schools in eight prefectures, with 11 in Osaka Prefecture and eight in Tokyo.
Through the stepped-up financial assistance, the ministry aims to help each of the 47 prefectures run at least one night school. Across the country, there are believed to be more than 120,000 potential students for such schools.
Local governments are cautious about opening night junior high schools because the students’ ages, nationalities and learning ability vary considerably, and special teaching skills and materials are needed as a result.
On top of funds to cover ordinary school expenses, the central government provides extra funds for teaching materials to night junior high schools. The ministry plans to drastically increase the extra funds from the current level of tens of thousands of yen per school a year, starting in fiscal 2015, the sources said.