It will become possible to obtain the necessary qualifications in Japanese to enroll in leading universities overseas, such as Harvard University in the United States, the education ministry has said.
The International Baccalaureate (IB), which offers internationally recognized educational qualifications, has three programs--Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma. The IB Diploma Program, which covers material equivalent to Japan's high school curriculum, can be used instead of domestic qualifications to enter universities in foreign countries.
The International Baccalaureate Organization, based in Switzerland, told the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry on Monday that it would allow the IB Diploma Program to be conducted in Japanese. The ministry will consider concrete steps to start the program.
The IB programs are currently offered in English, French and Spanish, with parts also offered in German and Chinese. If the program is allowed to be conducted in Japanese, it will become the sixth language to be used in the IB courses.
The IB educational programs focus not only on acquiring knowledge but also on developing the ability to find solutions to problems through discussion.
To enter an overseas university from Japan, a student needs to meet various requirements, such as passing exams that differ depending on the target country. Students can also qualify to take an examination for about 2,000 universities if they complete the IB Diploma Program and score at least 24 out of a possible 45 points on a standard IB exam that is administered at the same time around the world.
Therefore, offering the IB Diploma Program in Japanese is expected to encourage more Japanese students to study abroad.
The training of instructors and examiners for the exams will also be in Japanese. However, some classes and exams will be conducted in English to help students develop the language skills to study overseas at leading universities.
As the diploma program is currently only offered in English in Japan, it is difficult to find teachers with the necessary language skills. This is part of the reason why apart from international schools, only five high schools in Japan offer the program.
The government asked the organization to allow the program to be conducted in Japanese because it wants 200 high schools to offer the course as part of efforts to develop internationally competitive students.