In a new attempt at alternative education, a Japanese venture company said Wednesday it will launch a home school in April in which students use the Internet to study at home in Japan and “graduate” from an American high school.

At Atmark Inter-Highschool, students who have graduated from junior high school will organize their own curriculum to accumulate the required credits in each subject, according to Tokyo-based Atmark Learning Inc. at a Tokyo news conference.

They will study materials from Web sites and use e-mail to interact with teachers and submit reports, which will be the basis of evaluating their achievements.

“The home school will certainly be an alternative to the current school system in Japan in the 21st century,” said Kozo Hino, president of Atmark Learning, adding that the school will give children who are currently not attending schools a chance to study on their own.

Atmark Inter-Highschool has formed an alliance with Alger Independence High School in Seattle, one of the pioneers in American home-schooling, which will recognize Atmark students’ credits and grant a certified State of Washington diploma to those who have completed the required course load.

The program will cost about 1 million yen a year and will be completed in three years.

John Lackey, president of Alger Independence High School, told the same news conference that home-schooling in the United States is offering more freedom in education and an opportunity for independent learning for children who have had difficulties in the public school system.

Home-schooling allows students to be “more self-confident, self-reliant, and happier children,” Lackey said, adding, “Today, Japan, too, is ready to experience the global trend for more freedom in education.”

Atmark Inter-Highschool will also encourage students to participate in various field work and schooling programs, including a trip to Seattle, to directly interact with teachers and fellow students.

The company will start guidance sessions across Japan in December and hopes to admit 100 students through essays and interviews.

The Web site for Atmark Inter-Highschool is http://www.at-learn.co.jp/

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