National

Flood-hit Okayama cram school opens doors to other students

JIJI

A cram school in the Mabicho district of Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, has reopened to accept both its own students and others whose schools were damaged by the region’s deadly rains this month.

In the wake of the disaster, the city’s education board decided to keep 15 schools from kindergarten to junior high closed through next Thursday, with the summer holidays commencing on Friday.

Some students are hindered by damaged textbooks, while others have few opportunities to see their friends because they’re at shelters.

Isao Iwasaki, 64, head of the cram school run by Meiko Network Japan Co., is worried children at the suspended schools will be unable to study for a long time because school won’t start until September, at the earliest.

Floodwaters reached the second floor of the cram school in the Yata area, and muddy whiteboards, desks and teaching materials were found scattered on the first floor after the water receded.

The damage on the second floor, where the office is situated, was relatively light.

The school reopened Thursday, four days after the floods receded, after Iwasaki and students cleaned up the facility and procured desks, notebooks and other items from other schools nearby.

Iwasaki decided to open the cram school to children other than its own after asking himself: “What can I do for the community? There are children who are unable to study at shelters.”

He also thought about their parents, who must be concerned about the children being unable to study.

On Saturday, a child who did not attend the school visited it for the first time. Kosei Nakamura, 15, studied English using one of its textbooks.

“It’s been a while since I last studied,” Nakamura said, noting, “My school will remain closed and there will be no club activities for the time being.”