The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education has decided to establish a network with universities and companies in Japan and overseas to nurture global human resources. The network is aimed at developing an environment where Tokyo middle and high school students can take classes taught by visiting teachers in Japan and from overseas. Students will also visit universities’ research institutes to acquire English and communication skills and the ability to think on their own. The board will test the program this year at some schools in Tokyo and make it available to all municipal schools in the future.
The network is named “diverse link Tokyo edu.” The board will build the network by working together with educational authorities in various countries with which the metropolitan government maintains relations. Universities and businesses plan to participate in the program from eight countries and regions including Thailand and New Zealand. The board will also work with Softbank and Barclays, the UK’s multinational company, and gradually broaden the network.
The board intends to make the network a “platform for learning” unique to the metropolitan government and make it available to all municipal schools by 2021. The board will also develop a curriculum through which students will visit corporate or university research institutes or interview researchers. The curriculum is aimed at having students learn independently .
“We are entering a new age with advances in artificial intelligence,” said Akiko Mori, a member of the Board of Education in charge of the program. “To pull through this new age students need to acquire the ability to explore, create and communicate, and I want to use the metropolitan government’s networks to the fullest extent to help them acquire this ability.”
The board will test the program at the Tokyo Metropolitan Minamitama Secondary Education School (Hachioji City) and other schools. As the first stage of the test, an art class was offered to first graders of the school and students learned diversity.
During the class, a female Australian teacher told students in English to draw a sketch based on her description of a round table in the kitchen and an open window.” Students each drew their own sketches. Upon completion, they showed their sketches to one another.
Each sketch was totally different from the others. The teacher explained to the students, “You all listened to the same description but your way of depiction was unique to each of you. That is very natural.” One of the students said, “It was interesting to see that we all rendered the scene differently.” The board plans to incorporate in the curriculum subjects other than English that incorporate use of the language.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) launched this fiscal year a framework named the “project to support building a global learning consortium.” The Metropolitan Board of Education used the framework to start the program. The MEXT project is aimed at building a network of 50 junior and senior high schools nationwide and overseas relevant organizations in five years by providing financial support. The ministry designated the Minamitama school as the project’s base school.