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City in Saitama to begin home schooling for dropouts.

SAITAMA, Japan, Jan. 17 Kyodo

The city of Shiki, Saitama Prefecture, plans to begin in April a home schooling system for elementary and junior high school students who for various reasons have stopped attending school, city officials said Thursday.

Retired teachers will be dispatched to the students' homes with the aim of providing them with a good basic education, the officials said.

Currently, schools often allow such students to graduate despite lack of sufficient education, according to the city's education board.

Shiki's home schooling system is the first of its kind in Japan, according to the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry. Up to now, community centers and privately run free schools have served as learning centers for students who have stopped attending school.

Shiki has eight primary schools and four junior high schools, with about 10 pupils and students who no longer attend school.

In the new system from the beginning of the 2002 academic year, the retired teachers will be paid to teach the students at the children's homes five days a week, for two to four hours each day, the officials said.

There will be a core group of 20 retired teachers, as well 10 part-time teachers at the city's schools who will take part in the home education program during their free time.

The education ministry said about 134,000 children of school-going age nationwide do not attend school, and of those, only 10% attend alternative classrooms set up by municipalities.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jan 21, 2002
Words:246
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