円卓会議 102【in English】International Education matters
Chair of International Women’s Club JAPAN Foundation. Board member of Global Education Foundation.
Director General of Collège du Léman
Co-founder and Chair of the Board
at International School of Asia, Karuizawa (ISAK)
NHK World "Newsline" Anchor
NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)
Education with an international perspective, which enables students to obtain different views and to be able to identify and solve issues, is a must for the future. This round table featured experts from Japan and abroad who discussed the various issues that arise in the pursuit of international education.
NHK World Newsline anchor Minori Takao served as facilitator for the session. Prompted by Ms. Takao, Lin Kobayashi, Co-founder of the International School of Asia, Karuizawa, explained what inspired her to leave for high school in Canada. As a member of the Council for the Implementation of Education Rebuilding, created by Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, she explained the three big issues facing Japan and offered an update on the Council’s progress. “We have to make changes. And it’s in our hands to make things happen.”
Thomas Schädler, Director General of Collège du Léman in Switzerland believes “Education is the most powerful weapon that we have. It’s the only thing that allows us to change the world.” He said that public education is a big achievement of the last century, but they are missing the opportunity to adapt to globalization. He feels that the problems facing Europe right now can only be solved through education and exposure to other cultures.
Makiko Takemura, Chair of International Women’s Club JAPAN, talked about the best age for students to become motivated to go abroad for education. She stated that parents should challenge their children to think for themselves by asking them small questions every day. Stressing that communication is essential, she said: “Nowadays, we need not bilateral communication, but multilateral communication.”
She mentioned her foundation’s efforts to get the International Baccalaureate (IB) offered in Japanese public schools so that students without the means to attend private schools can benefit from the IB curriculum.
In the Q&A session, a participant asked what should be taught at school and at home, now that Artificial Intelligence is replacing workers. Mr. Schädler was happy to address his “favorite topic.” He said the most important thing is for students to learn to solve problems and described what the teacher’s role is in this style of learning. He also spoke about three new learning methods and how they can prepare students for the future in ways that a rules-based traditional education cannot. Picking up the baton, Ms. Kobayashi added a few key points, including how important it is to learn to take risks, saying “In the coming age, not taking a risk is going to be a risk.”
Mr. Schädler advised students to speak up and ask questions; this is a revolution that can come from the students, not the teachers. He said introducing IB in Japanese public schools would be revolutionary, but cautioned against thinking IB is the solution. He acknowledged that many Asian countries have superior math and science programs and that IB isn’t perfect and offered his advice on how to proceed. He also explained why everyone should learn to speak other languages.
In response to a question from a Japanese IB student about the rigor of the IB curriculum, Ms. Takemura said that IB isn’t for everyone.
All of the speakers agreed on the most important change that has to be made if education in Japan is to be truly reformed.