The education ministry will freeze its plan to allow graduates of international schools taught in English to take entrance exams at government-funded universities without having to take “daiken” pre-admission tests, according to ministry sources.
The move follows a wave of public criticism and protests from non-English international schools for being excluded from the plan.
The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry will reconsider granting the same rights to students from schools that are taught in Korean, Chinese and other languages, the sources said.
The ministry intends to come up with a final plan by summer, when most colleges and universities will announce their application guidelines.
Opposition to extending the daiken waiver to pro-Pyongyang Korean schools can be expected from within the Liberal Democratic Party in light of North Korea’s admission that its agents have abducted Japanese people.
Korean, Chinese and other ethnic schools in Japan would not qualify under the education ministry’s plan announced March 6 to allow graduates of 16 international schools in Japan that have been accredited by Western education groups to take national university exams, thus enabling them to bypass the daiken tests.
The three education groups designated by the ministry are the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Association of Christian Schools International of the United States and the European Council for International Schools of Britain.
Because the three organizations only certify schools where the main language of instruction is English, none of the Korean, Chinese and other ethnic schools in Japan would qualify.
Officials of non-Western schools and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations have criticized the plan as “outright ethnic discrimination.”
LDP Secretary General Taku Yamasaki asked the education ministry March 12 to give students from non-Western ethnic schools the same rights.
His position was endorsed by secretaries general and chairmen of the Diet affairs committees of the LDP and its two coalition partners.
At present, graduates of non-Japanese schools, which are not accredited by the School Education Law, must take the daiken to show their education meets national academic standards before they can take entrance exams at national or local public universities.
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