Departmental Bulletin Paper Educational Supports for Immigrant Children: Focusing on Programs by Voluntary Sectors

Ishiwata, Hikaru

This paper is about the support programs for immigrant children in Japan, especially those offered by voluntary sectors. Public schools in Japan do not provide sufficient support regarding the immigrant children. Thus, many voluntary sectors help these immigrant children to enter or to keep up in the Japanese schools. This paper introduces one of the volunteer programs in Japan, which is called “the Bridge School Program [Niji no Kakehashi Kyoshitsu].” This program had been promoted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) from 2009 to 2014. The aim of this program is to facilitate the immigrant children to go to a public schools. In addition, it also promotes communication between immigrant residents and the Japanese local residents. This program offers Japanese language trainings, school study supports and also provides a place where the immigrant children could feel relieved. The program also puts importance to support the children’s parents. They help the parents regarding various issues they face, and try to make relationship with the Japanese local residents. Up to March 2015, 4,333 children have entered to public schools, through the support of this program. Besides the support to the immigrant students, this program also creates a volunteer network. However, this program ended in March 2015, leaving a problem to be solved because from the next year, the grant will be provided to each local government, which will possibly lead to expand the funding gap between each local government.

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