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Brazilian Children Falling off from Japan’s Educational System

Aisin Seiki Co., a supplier of auto parts to Toyota Motor Corp., employs about 1,700 Brazilians among its 6,000 factory workers. A public-housing complex in Toyota City called Homi Estate was built in the 1970s to house workers at Toyota's parts suppliers. Now, 45% of the roughly 9,000 residents are predominantly Brazilian.





According to a national survey conducted in 2005 by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, the number of Brazilians residing in Japan reached 214,049 and ranked third in foreign national population following 466,637 Korean residents and 346,877 Chinese. Approximately 35,000 Brazilians in Japan were aged between 5 and 19.

These roughly 35,000 Brazilian children of school age attend either Brazilian schools, local public schools, or are not enrolled in any educational institutions.

Brazilian children attending local public schools are confronted with language barriers and difficulties adjusting to the Japanese-way. As a result, many end up dropping out. In the late 1990s Brazilian schools were created by Brazilians in Japan to help these children adjust to Japanese society and prepare for enrollment in public schools. Over time, these schools have become the center of educational institute for Brazilians.

However, these schools are not accredited as an educational institute by the Japanese government. In order for Brazilian schools to be accredited, the government requires that these schools teach according to prefecture standards and follow government-set curriculum, forcing them to abandon teaching in Portuguese and depend on Japanese teachers to handle Brazilian students. And because unaccredited schools are not funded by the Japanese government the school must ask parents and guardians for 25,000 yen per month to cover expenses and tuition.

Those unable to pay have no choice but to enroll their children in public schools, where again, many are doomed to drop out.

According to Julietta Yoshimura, president of the Associacao das Escolas Brasileiras no Japao (Association of Brazilian Schools in Japan), there are approximately 9,000 Brazilian students attending Brazilian schools and 10,000 others enrolled in Japanese public schools. The remaining roughly 15,000 Brazilians of school age, according to the Foreign Ministry’s 2004 estimate, are not enrolled in any educational institutions.

Related Article: Falling off the educational ladder: Brazilian schools have it all for students – except accreditation



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