Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Govt Recognition to Boost Vocational School Standards

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Govt Recognition to Boost Vocational School Standards

Article excerpt

At the beginning of this fiscal year, the education ministry launched a system in which it recognizes vocational school courses that provides practical occupational education in close cooperation with businesses as "specialized courses for practical occupations."

This fiscal year, 1,373 courses at 472 schools were recognized by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry with hopes the new system will improve education standards at vocational schools. While the vocational schools can promote their ministry-recognized courses to prospective students, they are required to disclose such information as the rate of students dropping out.

Nihon Kogakuin College's Hachioji Campus in Tokyo has 12 courses recognized as specialized courses for practical occupation. In August last year, it built a "smart house for practical training" on its premises, an energy-saving house with such equipment as solar and wind power generation devices.

Set up in collaboration with Yamada SxL Home Co., an Osaka-based home builder, the practical training house is also equipped with a device that can charge electric cars and send power from the car to a house, a control system to automatically save power used by air conditioners and lights, and solar panels.

"[Students] will be able to experience cutting-edge technologies that are expected to become widespread in the near future," said Kazunori Fujimoto, head of the home builder's technology design management department.

The company's employees sometimes hold training sessions for the vocational school teachers and give technical guidance to the students.

During a class in June, students practiced installing solar panels on boards simulating a roof next to the practical training house.

The vocational school underlined that some of its courses are recognized by the ministry as specialized courses when it held this fiscal year's explanation meetings for parents or guardians of those who wish to enter the school.

"We take pride in having nurtured industry-ready students for companies. With official recognition by the government, we want to make a stronger case for our ability to provide practical education," said Shigeru Chiba, president of Nihon Kogakuin College. …

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