• Kyodo

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An Osaka middle school for children of pro-Pyongyang Koreans opened its classes to the public Saturday morning in an attempt to demonstrate that its academic standards are comparable to those of Japanese schools.

The move is in response to the Japanese government’s plan to give only graduates of Western style international schools — but not Korean, Chinese or other ethnic schools — the automatic right to take national university exams.

The school, in Osaka’s Ikuno Ward, opened nine classes in the first and second periods for students in their first and second years, including Korean and math classes.

Visitors were also given compositions by the students, including passages such as, “I want to go to university to realize my dream of becoming a lawyer,” and “We are all human, but why can’t we have equal rights to education?”

Pu Yong Uk, principal of the school, criticized the education ministry’s plan, saying, “Political issues such as the abduction (of Japanese nationals by North Korea) and the right to receive education should be clearly separated. It is ridiculous that children should become victims.”

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology decided Thursday to allow graduates of 16 international schools in Japan that have been accredited by Western education groups to take national university exams, enabling them to bypass the “daiken” pre-admission test.

Of the estimated 120 ethnic schools in Japan, about 90 are for children of pro-Pyongyang Koreans, while roughly 10 others are for South Korean and Chinese residents of Japan.

At present, as non-Japanese schools are not accredited under the School Education Law, graduates must take the pre-admission test to show their level of education meets national academic standards before they can apply to take entrance exams for state-run and some local government-run universities.

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