In 2013 Kokusai Gakuin Educational Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary and ASPnet (UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network) celebrated its 60th. That very same year, we determined to start junior high school education at Kokusai Gakuin based on our own educational philosophy and the ideals of the UNESCO charter. It has been said that there is currently a crisis in the Japanese education system. When I participated in the Asia Europe Classroom network Conference in Dehli, India in 2010 what I saw were students from various parts of the world endevoring to work together on ICT projects in order to help build societies with sustainable development. I felt strongly that Japan could be left behind. Therefore, I made a decision to open a junior high school in order to nurture future global leaders able to cope with serious world-wide problems and cooperate with those who are depending on Japan and the Japanese people.
A UNESCO ‘ASPnet’ (Associated Schools Project Network) school, is a school which adheres to the ideals of the UNESCO charter. A lot of ASPnet member schools reach out beyond their own communities, frameworks and districts by developing exchanges between students and teachers from around the world who can then share information and experiences. Our aim lies in developing and refining new educational ideas and methods to prepare young people to deal with the various challenges the age of globalisation presents. Students of Kokusai Gakuin will be able to develop their own intellect, sense of values on sustainable development and abilities in order to create alternatives, to collect and analyze information, and to communicate with others. Furthermore, through collaborative learning, our students will be able to acquaint themselves with students from all over the world and be able to take advantage of the burgeoning global network. Our hope is that in the future it will be possible for students to reach out beyond the framework we currently use.
Students in Kokusai Gakuin are expected to spend the full six years focusing on “formulas.” Just as the saying “Custom is second nature” suggests, we develop our students’ good study habits and lifestyles along the lines of ‘knowledge, morals, physical health and food education.’ ‘To learn’ was originally interpreted as “to imitate,” and we therefore believe that human beings learn by imitating and repeating. By accumulating these experiences, we not only imitate in the superficial way of studying, but also become interested in the fundamental meaning of things. This enables us to comprehend truth and meaning through the enjoyment of learning. We evoke the students’ interests, deepen them, and nourish their skills of concentration and problem solving. They can develop themselves through a style of learning that encourages concrete actions. We put emphasis on real experiences, tactile sensations, research and practice as well as the acquisition of knowledge. We have established a unified lower and upper secondary school that is able to offer a systematic education which enables the students to develop their own abilities to the maximum extent.
Currently, the world is facing up to considerable change. It is difficult to think simply in terms of convention and tradition in such hard times. What is important is the ability to adjust to new circumstances and solve the problems that are faced during the process. Students in our school are expected to seek their own opportunities through self-development and learning. They will discover their own potential with the help of feedback from their teachers, and develop themselves by climbing up three stages: knowledge, competence, and capability. The ideals we desire from our students are ‘intellectual honesty’ and diligence. We hope that they will grow up to become cosmopolitan people, able to be global leaders and contribute to society. Kokusai Gakuin will continue to develop our own style of education in order that our students are able to ‘learn how to learn’ and feel that learning is fun, while also making the most of the global community.
Principal Hiroyuki Ohno