From 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Thursday, November 1, 2018, the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education (Tokyo BOE) held an information exchange meeting with the British Columbia (BC) Ministry of Education in a conference room of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
The event was the fourth of its kind to be held since the two administrations entered into an Agreement of Memorandum of Understanding in 2015.
The meeting featured representatives from Tokyo public schools and British Colombia school districts who are interested in forming cultural and academic exchange, as well as representing the Government of British Columbia in Japan and the Embassy of Canada to Japan.
○ Information Exchange Meeting Overview
Second Secretary of Public Affairs at the Embassy of Canada to Japan Christine Callahan started out the meeting with some opening remarks. This was followed by a presentation on BC’s education and international education initiatives by the BC Government representative and then by a presentation by the Tokyo BOE on its international education efforts.
Second Secretary of Public Affairs at the Embassy of Canada to Japan Christine Callahan
The representative of BC Office in Japan discussed the current landscape of the BC education system.
During the presentation, the representative introduced those in attendance to the background and education system of BC, and then discussed how Canada’s position as a nation that commonly accepts large numbers of immigrants has allowed BC students to experience a diverse classroom atmosphere, and for advancements in English as a second language research to be made. They went on to say how this coupled with BC’s environmentally sound atmosphere makes it an ideal study abroad destination.
They discussed how BC is home to sixty school districts, which gives students the opportunity to study in a wide variety of environments.
Presentation by the BC Side
Next up was a presentation given by the Japan Association of Overseas Studies (JAOS) on the international trends of Japanese exchange students. With the number of foreign visitors to Japan rising in recent years, and the globalization of society as a whole, the number of Japanese exchange students in 2016 was 2.5 times as much as it was in 2006. It is estimated that it will be four times as much by 2020. As social globalization is expected to expand at an even faster rate, the JAOS representative went on to discuss the most popular study abroad destinations for Japanese students, and the reasons for such. They further discussed the number of Japanese visitors to Canada and vice versa.
The second half of the meeting featured officials from both the BC school districts and Tokyo side and individual information exchanges.
Participants from Both Sides Carrying Out Individual Discussions and Information Exchanges
Tokyo public school representatives rotated around to each table staffed by BC representatives, and they individually discussed preferred exchange program formats, current programs, and future tie-ups. There were also opportunities for Tokyo public school representatives to discuss their own international exchange initiatives and exchange information. This all led to the information exchange meeting ending on a high note.
The Tokyo BOE also seized this opportunity to explain its Tokyo International Exchange Concierge service to educators in attendance, and even showed some demos of its related systems.
The Tokyo BOE will continue to hold similar events in the future as an opportunity for Tokyo public schools to obtain information about overseas education trends, education environments and schools first hand and to speak directly with representatives of foreign schools.