Many parents, guardians and their children gathered in Suzuka City for an information session on academic and career planning sponsored by the Mie Prefectural Government. Those who attended viewed portions of the “Career Guide DVD” and learned more about the school application process. Parents who have successfully navigated the school application process were also available to provide advice for parents and guardians with questions and concerns.
During group discussions, participants shared ideas about issues related to education and the challenges that parents and guardians face.
Here are some of the topics that came up during group discussion:
＊The language barrier
Many non-Japanese parents and guardians are conflicted about whether they should have their children prioritize learning Japanese or their native language. Presenters advised encouraging children to learn both languages, as doing provide children with advantages in the future.
＊The cost of education
Non-Japanese residents who are unfamiliar with the Japanese education system may be unaware that they need to save money to pay for their children’s high school and university tuition. Those attending the information session were encouraged to save for their children’s education. There are also education loans available for families that are unable to save enough money to pay their children’s tuition. More information on these loans is available at schools and organizations that support non-Japanese residents.
＊The influence of conversations at home
In order to help children maintain their motivation, it is important to be aware of what is discussed in their presence. For example, non-Japanese children who overhear their parents talking about returning to their home country may come to view Japanese as something that isn’t worth learning.
＊Building a support network
It is important to gather information about high school and university application procedures by expanding your circle of friends and networking. Advice from parents and guardians who have already secured a high school or university education for their children can be very useful for individuals who are unfamiliar with the necessary procedures. Information about high school and university admissions are also available at local governments and organizations that support non-Japanese residents.
Many of those attending the information session had concerns about their children’s future, but this seminar allowed them to hear other parents’ experiences and obtain information that is hard to come by. Participants were also reminded of the important role that parents must play in supporting their children’s education.
Ms. Noriko Yoshihara, a foreign resident of Japanese descent, has a son that graduated from a Japanese university. She had the following advice for non-Japanese parents living in Japan.