IOM Deputy Director General Backs "Bridging Schools" for Migrant Children in Japan

IOM Deputy Director General Ambassador Laura Thompson is today
addressing a symposium in Tokyo assessing the success of a
three-year, USD 38 million programme to use "bridging schools" to
integrate migrant children into Japan’s school system.

Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and
Technology (MEXT), which is funding the programme, and IOM, are
co-hosting the symposium.

The "bridging school" programme was launched in 2009 to mainly
support school-aged migrant children who were not attending school,
often due to family financial difficulties caused by the 2008-2009
global economic crisis.

The schools were designed to provide six months of free
education to help these children to learn Japanese and other key
subjects to enable them to transfer smoothly into Japanese public
and other schools.

During the first year of the project, 34 schools were
established nationwide with a total attendance of 1,251 children.
In the second year, 42 schools were established with 2,436 children
attending. This year, as of the end of September, 39 schools had
been established serving 1,405 children.

"Education is a key part of the integration process and these
schools also play an important role in helping not just the
children, but also their parents to better integrate with the local
community," says Ambassador Thompson.

The symposium is looking at the lessons learnt from the
programme, which is scheduled to end in March 2012, and discussing
future interventions to support the education of migrant

For further information, please contact:

Naoko Hashimoto

IOM Tokyo

Tel: +81-3-3595-2487

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