chapter  1
16 Pages

Nonformal education in Japan: its interface with formal schools

ByKAORI H. OKANO

This chapter discusses schools for foreigners and their relationship with formal schools. It explains how governments have responded to the increasingly multi-ethnic student population within the formal mainstream school system in order to set the context. The chapter examines 'schools of foreigners' that are nonformal educational institutions operating independently of the formal school system. Japan's population was multi-ethnic long before new migrants started arriving in the 1990s, although the popular perception has been that Japanese formal schools cater to ethnically and culturally homogenous children. The most urgent mission of ethnics schools for new migrants is to provide a place where migrant children feel secure and comfortable in their ethnic language environment. Local governments had initially followed the national government approach in marginalizing ethnic schools during the post-war period. The national government concern initially centred on supporting Anglophone international schools and English language learning at formal schools.