• Kyodo


A high school in the city of Iga, Mie Prefecture, gave its correspondence students credits for off-campus activities such as counting change at theme parks and having lunch at restaurants, prompting a stern rebuke from the education ministry.

On Wednesday, the ministry notified city officials to instruct Wits Aoyama Gakuen high school to give new lessons and urge the school to stop accepting new admissions.

Correspondence course students at Wits Aoyama usually attend nationwide study support facilities and the school is obliged to give them face-to-face schooling twice a year at its main campus in Iga.

However, the school instead gave credits for taking part in activities outside the campus.

In one instance, some students were given math credits for calculating change when they bought souvenirs at the Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka. In other cases, watching foreign films on a bus on the way to its main campus was considered an English lesson while having lunch at a roadside restaurant was considered a home economics class.

They were also regarded to have taken social studies and physical education courses for visiting a ninja museum and throwing ninja knives at the facility.

The education ministry said the cases could have a corrosive effect, eroding public trust in the high school correspondence education system.

About 220 students will graduate from the school this month and go on to college or start working, while some 20 new students are slated to enter the school, according to the ministry.

Akira Inoue, vice principal at the school, said Tuesday it will consider necessary measures after determining the number of students who need to retake courses.

The ministry urged the school to conduct extra classes for graduating students monitored by city officials.

Wits Aoyama Gakuen was founded in 2005 by Osaka-based firm Wits, an affiliated company of Tori Holdings Co. in Tokyo.

The school, in a government-designated special zone for education, has also been the subject of allegations it illegally received government subsidies. In December, prosecutors in Tokyo searched offices related to the school.

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