Nikkei Report: Online Education Coming to Japan?

National and local government in Japan are increasing focus on bringing ICT into education by 2020.  MEXT(Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) has included 2.1 billion yen (20 million dollars) for ICT education in 2014 budget request .

Meanwhile, MEXT and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications have been working closely with 20 elementary schools and junior high schools for developing and experimenting in E-learning system. In addition to this, Private sectors firms like Microsoft Japan, Intel, NTT Docomo and 40 other companies are working on the “Windows Classroom Project”.

Saga Prefecture is leading this movement by preparing one Windows-8 installed tablet per student entering state high schools in 2014.

Concerns have been raised about the government`s plans, warning that current ICT classes are insufficient to teach children how to use computers effectively and that students will have a difficult time adjusting to the new environment.

In addition to this, many schools are still equipped with computers running Windows XP, so hardware upgrades will also be required.

A number of universities are also putting information technology as a subject for future entrance examinations.

Last Word: 

The Ministry of Education has tried for years to promote greater use of ICT in the schools, but has been hampered by inadequate budget and resistance from teachers and administrators. Currently only one in seven Japanese elementary, middle and high schools students have access to computers. Clearly, this new budget figure will have at best limited impact.

Source: Nikkei Shimbun, Digital Edition (Japanese)
Image Source: Wikimedia