Opportunities for education and careers for every child (STORY 3 Enhancing School and Job Opportunities)
Shinagawa Joshi Gakuin in Tokyo introduced Study Sapuri ("Study Supplement") to its students, and some are using it to supplement their regular classes. One user comments, "I can use the videos like private lessons and it really is fun."
■ Disparities in educational opportunities due to income or place of residence
Differences in household incomes are said to directly cause disparities in children's education and employment opportunities. Take, for example, continuing on to university. Only 31.4％ of children from households with an annual income of ¥4 million or less enroll in universities as opposed to 62.4% of those from households with an income of ¥10 million or more.*1 This shows that the percentage of students enrolling in university is related to household income. Even in Japan, a country considered to be affluent, disparities exist in children's educational environments. Moreover, differences can also arise in educational environments according to place of residence.
At 3.5%, Japan ranks lowest among select OECD countries in public expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP.*2 When viewed from a global perspective, Japanese children appear to be missing out on learning opportunities.
1 Source: University of Tokyo Center for Research on University Management and Policy, Preliminary Report on the Survey Tracking High School Students' Advancement.
2 Source: Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2012, Proportion of Public Expenditure on Education to GDP and Total Public Budget in Select OECD Countries.
■ Let's deliver the best possible learning to the farthest corners of the world
Study Sapuri ("Study Supplement") was developed to overcome disparities in educational environments and deliver the best possible education to every child. With Study Sapuri, students can enjoy unlimited viewing of lessons taught by top professional instructors for a monthly fee of ¥980.
This online learning service was launched in 2011 to deliver the best possible learning to the farthest ends of the earth. By 2015, users in Japan numbered 250,000, including elementary, junior high, and high school students, and 3 million children from around the world, including those in developing countries where large disparities exist, also use this service.
By providing a cheap online service to those children who cannot attend Japanese cram schools, we have begun to contribute to steadily rectifying educational disparities. And by expanding the service overseas to emerging countries, we are also supporting learning for children worldwide.
■Aiming for careers in the global arena
We are now also directing our attention to what will be required of education in the future. We see a shift from a growing society that looks for just one correct answer to a more mature society that accepts more than one answer as correct. We aim to nurture diverse perspectives so as to develop human resources who can be active in our globalized society.
For example, as Tokyo's first school principal brought in from the business world, Kazuhiro Fujihara offers a new kind of course with a global perspective, called Yononaka-ka ("Course on Society"), which strengthens students' thinking abilities. Study Sapuri's Yononaka-ka course goes beyond the conventional framework of five subject areas and includes philosophy classes with Harvard University Professor Michael Sandel in the general studies section of the course.
"I want to go to university but there's not enough money for me to go to cram school. Study Sapuri has been my lifesaver." (Third-year high school student using Study Sapuri at home)
"I gave up going to cram school because of traffic congestion. But with Quipper, I can rest assured about being able to study anytime, anywhere." (Second-year high school student in Indonesia)
Because this is an online learning service, we believe we can deliver the best learning to the farthest corners of the world. We hope that offering various opportunities for learning will provide the basis for students to achieve a distinctive and prosperous lifestyle that they have chosen for themselves.