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New school in Iraq to provide a Japanese-style education

25 Comments
By RocketNews24

Impressed with Japan’s ability to quickly rebuild after World War II, some educators in Iraq are looking to instill similar values in their own youth.

As Iraq remains mired in fighting with extremist groups, government funds for essential services such as education are strained to the breaking point. In this grim situation, the new Japanese-style school in Baghdad is hopefully seen as a breath of fresh air.

It was the idea of an Iraqi expert in Japanese political history who followed the country’s rise from a devastated scorched land to economic powerhouse in only a few decades and hopes his country can follow the same path when the fighting finally stops.

At an opening ceremony held by the Japanese embassy on 26 December, the founding professor said: “By inheriting the spirit of harmony of Japanese society, I want to bring up the next generation to embrace the importance of teamwork.”

The school will closely follow both the extra-curricular activities found in Japanese schools such as having the students do all of the cleaning themselves and a general emphasis on the importance of discipline in life. The Japanese language will also be among the lessons offered.

One of the 230 children enrolled told media: “I like that it’s possible to a lot of different things like Japanese.” This boy and nine other representative students treated guests to a song in Japanese that they had only recently picked up.

While it’s a touching idea and we can only hope this school helps to raise a generation of kind and hardworking people who will raise Iraq to greatness, there are challenges that will need to be overcome — after all, for better or worse, the current education system in Japan isn’t the same as it was during the aftermath of World War II.

Source: NHK

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25 Comments
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Will take a while before the cram schools take effect as everyone is broke in Iraq.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I bet the stories about Saddam, the Iraq War, and ISIS will vanish in their history books.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

This is a joke right?

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Let's get this right once and for all, it is not a spirit of harmony that Japanese schools engender, it is a spirit of fear. Discipline and duty are based on fear; fear of not doing the right thing or being thought badly of. And that's how a society based on those works. If you want a regulated and regularised population for the sake of business and society then go ahead and introduce a Japanese-style education system. If you want people to reach their full potential as human beings then introduce something else.

11 ( +14 / -4 )

I think they should start off by sweeping the filthy streets in their neighborhoods before moving on to students keeping a school clean. These things start from the stop down. I have seen video of bombings, protests and garbage in the streets. You do not see that in Japan in general.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

I have seen video of bombings, protests and garbage in the streets. You do not see that in Japan in general.

I wasn't around at the time, but I get the feeling that in Japan, for some time after the war, the streets were still in ruins. And I'd also bet that many motivated teachers tried to bring some normality to children's lives by trying to create a clean and tidy environment while they were in school.

it is not a spirit of harmony that Japanese schools engender, it is a spirit of fear

I guess I misinterpreted all the laughter and enthusiasm at the school ports events I once attended.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Although a novel idea that could help in a lot of ways, I think there is a major difference in cultural foundations that would not make this as effective as it was in Japan. No one can deny Japan's economic miracle, however the world has changed fundamentally since then and an economic miracle on that scale is definitely no longer possible in today's hyper-competitive world

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sushi-Ake-Bar?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Haven't these kids been beaten and bullied enough? Stop it already!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Well Japan try to help. I doubt the children will understand and comprehend what is developed country like. Best setup for young man age 16 to 18. Must be those with high ideology of modernising Iraq and strong will. It will take generation of students to have at least some group of reformers mind like. Else we dont want them to apply asylum in japan later. But i sincerely think, they are as x10 difficults to understnd Japan culture of neat and clean. I reckon it has to be high rank children or high clan members only. But its hard to adapt.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

only a few decades and hopes his country can follow the same path when the fighting finally stops.

Well, that will take a few decades in itself

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Look at what over a decade of wasted lives and wasted taxpayer dollars from the U.S. has done to establish 'democracy' in Iraq. At least Saddam kept things in check.

The anti Japan crowd can mock this all they want, but at least it's a fresh new idea in a different direction.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

but at least it's a fresh new idea in a different direction.

There is absolutely nothing fresh and new about an education system designed to instil discipline and duty, no matter how it is dressed up and then touted by NHK. We could look back to the 19th century in the UK and Germany for the same thing. Perhaps even to Sparta in the 4th century BCE.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Yeah, you know what's overrated? "Democracy." You know what kids really need to learn in school? How to think what your friends think so they're not being Iraqis in an incorrect way, and duty to the nation. Oh, and if you're having mental health issues the best thing for them is to participate in Sports Day in some old event aged mummies did when they were little kids that broke their bones and to study hard to pass that test! Studying hard to pass the test will alleviate all of your problems. Bullied by your peers? Pass your test? Suicidal? Pass your test before throwing yourself off a balcony! Socially isolated because everyone thinks you're weird? Pass your test! Never ever give up. Work hard, do your best. And pass your test!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japan as a model to be emulated sounds so passé. Isn't Japan a model to be avoided now for its prolonged anemic economic growth?

The Japanese language will also be among the lessons offered.

Reminds me of late 1980s. Those days Japanese language was touted as the rising star in many countries' school systems. But now its prospect as a major language of business is so bleak. I hope students know that they are embarking on an arduous study of a complicated niche language whose native speakers keep declining year by year. Anachronism of the whole thing is hilarious.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Just as long as English is not taught the same way as it is in Japan..... heaven forbid.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

greencard: What does your statement have to do with the article?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

shonanbb: "You do not see that in Japan in general."

True, you don't see the same tragedy and poverty that war has wrought on the nation in Japan, nor do you see the same spoiled-rotten kids given everything to them on pristine platters but who still demand more. I think it has a good chance of working and instilling Japanese values that ONCE existed, long ago, so long as they don't base it on current models. One thing for sure is that the kids over there will DEFINITELY realize that education is a PRIVILEGE and will work hard, without complaining and without the complete lack of classroom stability here. I doubt you'll have the monster parents, either.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Will girls now be taught in the schools?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Work hard, do your best. And pass your test!

Also, once you're done passing, refuse to marry and have kids!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

smith: I disagree with you. The kids over there do not have parents with the work ethic and thirst for knowledge and education as they do in Japan. The people of Japan are like the people of the book. Work hard, study hard, and implant that in their kid's value system. That is not done in the middle East except in Israel.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Japan rebuilt quickly after WW2 because it was under US protection (small defense budget) and the free US market access. If Iraq thinks they can adopt just the education system and can achieve the same results, they got it all wrong.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Shonanbb: disagree all you like, just because SOME of the parents of today have a good work ethic, and perhaps even for that reason, does NOT mean the children of today do; they do not, on the whole. Most are complacent, and spoiled. Japan rose from the ashes and people worked hard because they had nothing. Iraqi students can emulate THAT part of the system here and be successful. The sa,e model that worked for Japan in the past does not work for them today, however, and hence the poor rankings in so many circles, and the failure of old models to work in the present. Iraqi kids will work because they have to build -- it has not already been given to them for nothing -- and because they NEED to work to survive. The current youth here does not have that experience. That's not a bad thing except that in many cases, as with Japan, it has produced said complacency and a culture of entitlement.

Why do you think foreign students who make it over here from poor countries have been proven to take their education far more seriously than the majority of their Jaoanese counterparts?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They might be better off emulating one of the Scandinavian countries and learn English instead.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As an Iraqi myself, reading the comments of this article, im actually quite shocked / disgusted. I find the way some of you think is so ignorant and backwards.

"I think they should start off by sweeping the filthy streets in their neighborhoods before moving on to students keeping a school clean." - quite condescending and rude. So we must assume because you have witnessed something in a video it must be the general thing for the whole of Iraq?

"Haven't these kids been beaten and bullied enough? Stop it already!" - another petty and rude generalization.

"Well Japan try to help. I doubt the children will understand and comprehend what is developed country like. Best setup for young man age 16 to 18. Must be those with high ideology of modernising Iraq and strong will. It will take generation of students to have at least some group of reformers mind like. Else we dont want them to apply asylum in japan later." - You doubt the children will understand what a developed country is like? Did you know Iraq was one of the most developed countries before the Gulf War, and Baghdad was a main tourist attraction for the west back in the 1950s? The western world robbed them of it. Take a look here -(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AajPxROvcTA). I'd love to know your reasons for not wanting "them'' to apply for asylum in Japan.

"True, you don't see the same tragedy and poverty that war has wrought on the nation in Japan, nor do you see the same spoiled-rotten kids given everything to them on pristine platters but who still demand more." - another quite rude generalization that simply is a chip on your shoulder and serves no real purpose.

"The people of Japan are like the people of the book. Work hard, study hard, and implant that in their kid's value system. That is not done in the middle East except in Israel." Another ignorant generalization, Iraq boasts more PhDs per capita than the US.

"They might be better off emulating one of the Scandinavian countries and learn English instead." - another rude generalization that needs no explanation.

So yes, after reading all your comments, I find you guys totally ignorant and typically the type of people who just learn from the media instead of taking it from real life experience. I love Japan, Im currently in Tokyo, and I personally think a Japanese education system would be beneficial, I do not understand the hostility from you guys. I feel as though you feel threatened that another nation, especially one with such a negative aura around it like Iraq, is going to create ties with the country and be more culturally involved. All I can honestly say is you guys need to get out more.

Have a nice day!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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