The Education System
The Japanese education system consists of kindergarten, six years of elementary school (shogakko小学校), three years of junior high school (chugakko中学校), and three years of high school (kotogakko高等学校). Only elementary and junior high schools are compulsory, but many children also attend kindergarten and nearly all students complete high school. The school year runs from April until March of the following year, and is divided into two or three terms, with a holiday at the end of each term.
Any child who has reached the age of 5 by April 1 is eligible to sign up for public kindergarten for the school year beginning in April. A limited number of 4 year-old children are admitted based on an interview at the public kindergarten. Children are generally assigned to the school in the school district in which they live. However, parents may apply to send their child to another school nearer to their place of work or a private school which accepts students from K3 (3 years old). Because kindergarten is not part of compulsory education, there are one-time entrance and monthly fees for the public kindergarten. There are additional small fees for materials and snacks. Kindergartens also provide afternoon daycare until late afternoon (around 6 pm.) If you want to send your child to a public school, please visit your local government office.
OIST Child Development Center, TEDAKO
OIST’s TEDAKO Child Development Center offers the following services for children of OIST employees and students:
- Tedako Pre-School: Full-time care for children 2 months to 6 years of age and part-time care for children attending local kindergartens. Hours are from 08:00 to 18:00, Monday through Friday.
- After-School: Part-time care for children 6 years of age and above. Hours are from 15:00 to 18:00, Monday through Friday.
- Holiday Program: Full-time care for children on OIST workdays during school holidays.
- Buses: OIST will provide transportation for children from local schools and kindergartens to the CDC where possible.
More information can be found at http://groups.oist.jp/cdc (partly accessible after receiving your OIST password.) or look at the OIST news center on the OIST public web site.
International Classroom in Onna Elementary School
In response to OIST’s request, these schools have an “International Classroom (Kokusai Kyoshitsu)”. A bilingual teacher teaches core subjects such as Mathematics and Science in English, in addition to Japanese as a foreign language. This program is designed to be an affordable way to maintain children’s academic development in English and is highly recommended for families who wish to enjoy integration with the local community.
Eligibility: Onna-son residents; students age 6-12 and whose first language is not Japanese.
Cost: Free tuition. Other fees such as school lunches, supply fees, and PTA membership fee cost less than ¥10,000 per month.
International Schools in Okinawa
Okinawa AMICUS International School
Address: 1212-1 Enobi, Uruma-shi, Okinawa, 904-2205
Tel 81-98-894-4912, Fax: 81-98-972-6777
Okinawa AMICUS International School is a new international school that opened on 2011. The school campus is located in the suburb of Uruma-shi; about a 20-minute drive from the OIST Campus. It is located in a natural environment. The preschool program began in May 2010, and children from around Okinawa commute to the school. AMICUS covers pre-school, kindergarten, elementary school, and junior high school.
Okinawa Christian School International
Address: 1835 Zakimi, Yomitan-son, Okinawa, 904-0301
Tel: 81-98-958-3000, Fax: 81-98-958-6279
OCSI provides a comprehensive pre-kindergarten through 12th Grade educational curriculum in English for the international community in Okinawa. The school was established in 1957 and has provided education to those living in Okinawa since then. Test and educational materials are based on those used by schools in America. The school is located in Yomitan-son, about a 20-minute drive from the OIST Campus.
There are other options for an international or English education for your children. Please contact the Relocation Team for more information.