Language support for foreign background students

An expert panel from Japan's education ministry has compiled a list of proposals to improve Japanese language instruction for high school students who have foreign backgrounds. Japan's population of such students has been increasing.

An education ministry survey taken in 2018 showed that 4,172 public high school students required Japanese language instruction. The figure marked a 2.7-fold increase in 10 years.

Nearly 10 percent of those students had dropped out of school due to problems such as the language barrier. The number far exceeds the 1 percent dropout rate of all public high school students in Japan.

At a meeting on Wednesday, the panel called for high schools to organize special curriculum similar to those in place in elementary and junior high schools.

The panel stressed the need for individual instruction according to a student's language proficiency. It also called for such classes to be counted as credit.

Other proposals include having Japanese language instructors work with nonprofit organizations with specialized knowledge and other relevant organizations. The panel called for the promotion of education toward finding one's career and the backing of multicultural cohabitation.

The panel also urged the government to establish a framework and guidelines for Japanese language instruction.

Based on the panel's proposals, the education ministry aims to institute Japanese language instruction in high schools in fiscal 2023.