New school year begins in Japan amid tragedy

10 years ago by in Travel

In Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures on Japan’s battered northeastern coast, damage to the school system is immense. Nevertheless, the country had pushed for the start of the school year in spring despite the grievances of some students and teachers.

Okawa Elementary in Ishinomaki will start their classes on April 21, 10 days later than normal. Classes will be crowded since almost 200 schools need major renovations and repairs, while hundreds are currently being used as temporary shelters.

Psychologists and school counselors are being trained to help the people in hardest-hit areas to cope with mental distress.

Japan decided not to delay the opening of classes, saying doing so might have a negative effect on the young survivors’ future. The country’s strict education system provides good foundation for crucial university entrance examinations. As a result, skipping or repeating a grade is rare.[AP]