As a parent myself, I had to do a lot of research on which school I would like to enroll my child in, especially since I’m new in the country. Amongst some of the obvious factors like the education quality and faculty, it was necessary for me to know through word of mouth which school was a pleasant choice according to them. Since it was important to know through other parents as I lacked information, I decided to look into the advice they gave me. Out of these conversations I’ve written down the highlights of why a particular school was their choice to get their child admitted. I have stated my understanding and then the conversational tidbits; so that it gets easier for other families to view from or for parents who were just as clueless as me when I first moved here.
What I have realized so far:-
Japan is an incredible country with a unique culture where you would have to ultimately challenge yourself to make friends with people of different nationalities and backgrounds. Japan has a reputation amongst the international fraternity for its high living costs, especially Tokyo which annually makes into the list of the world’s top ten most expensive cities. All residents are supposed to have health insurance mandatorily as it is stated by law, and patients cannot be denied coverage which is a great initiative for people living in the country. Now, about the academic excellence of the nation – Japanese Universities enjoy a world class reputation for their research and are keen to attract many more international students. Based on the quality of life, it is one of the safest countries that offer a welcoming environment for foreign nationals and students.
In Japan, children with foreign nationalities have the same rights as Japanese children, which means that if a foreign parent would want to enroll their child into the Japanese Public Education system, they are most welcomed to do so. The customs, however, are very different from your home country and may take some time to be adjusted into. The tuition at a public elementary and junior high school is free, although there are several additional costs like lunch (about ¥3000 to ¥4000- depending on the school), PTA, material fees, school excursion, uniforms, etc. In total there are about forty accredited international schools in japan. The definition of International schools in Japan means educational institutions where English is the primary medium of instruction. These schools are always privately owned and there is a huge difference in the fee structure as compared to the nationalized system. The average international school in Japan costs about ¥15,00,000 to ¥20,00,000 per annum. The fee steadily increases in cost with the age of the child. For example, American schools in Japan cost about ¥20,00,000 to ¥30,00,000 per annum. To give the expats an idea, it comes to about USD$ 18,000 to USD$ 27,000.
What I learnt through other parents:-
One parent that sends her child to GIIS (Global Indian International School) Tokyo told me certain things that stuck with me and also impressed me the most. Despite Covid-19, GIIS made history by emerging as the top ranked Overseas CBSE curriculum school by ranking 9th amongst 16,000 CBSE schools and 1st amongst overseas CBSE schools. It is considered as a pre-eminent international school in Tokyo that fosters a positive learning environment and strengthens the student’s values, culture and personality. Although it is a privately owned school, it still makes the education affordable as it serves as an Indian Public School with an international Curricula. At GIIS, students are provided with a diverse option in curriculum, which makes learning flexible. The school often pushes for students to be multilingual and fluent in more than one language. The school has 3 campuses in Tokyo- NishiKasai Campus, Higashi Kasai Campus and Seishincho Campus.
The next parent gave me an example of India International School in Japan (IISJ). During our conversation she suggested looking into IISJ as it is one of the oldest international schools in Japan. They provide the best of India’s education system tailored to the Japanese system. They have two campuses, one in Koto-ku Tokyo and the other one in Midori-ku, Yokohama and they too offer multiple curriculums. IISJ tries to keep their tuition and fees as reasonable as possible so that any child who would like an International education can enroll in the school. The school has a unique policy where they ask parents to volunteer their time at IISJ to give the students a fulfilling school life. Parents can opt for either volunteering or can pay a fee instead of their time. This decision to volunteer would be made at the beginning of the academic year.
Another parent whose child goes to a Japanese Public School suggested that I consider Nishimachi International School which is another privately owned international school. Nishimachi International prides itself with an inclusive environment as they embrace their diverse community, they spin a culture of respect to one another and they focus on active learning, trust and communication. The school adopts USA’s Curriculum and therefore, they are committed to making their students bilingual with fluency in both Japanese and English languages with their medium of instruction being English. The Ultimate goal of the school is to assist each student in developing self discipline and accepting responsibility for their actions with the guidance of teachers and parents. Nishimachi international has their campus in Minato-ku, Tokyo.
So far I have passed on the information on the above schools which were highly recommended to me through my colleagues and acquaintances. I have given additional links so you can access the information on the schools.