Sunday, August 30, 2009

Report on the Japan Steiner School Management Business Meeting, 2009

This is report on the business meeting portion of the Japan Steiner School Management Gathering held on August 16, 2009. They are from my notes and are not to be considered an official document from the group. I post them here as an advertisement for Steiner schools in Japan, and as a record for any interested party.

The Management Gathering was held at the Izumi School in Toyo Machi, Hokkaido. The meeting was attended by representatives from 10 schools and education research institutions.

The meeting started in the morning on the 16th. The agenda included an introductory statement by a representative from each of the ten groups represented. Also attending was the founder of Furuyama Education Research. The schools' reports included numbers of students, teachers, current projects, problems, and plans for the future. Some common issues included school space, teacher availability, and status of students as school refusers.

A representive from the Kyo Tanabe Steiner School in Kyoto reported on their progress in registering as a UNESCO school. A list of Japanese UNESCO Schools can be found here. The application paperwork awaits delivery to UNESCO by the Japanese government.

High schools were the next topic of discussion. Since students are not registered as attending accredited schools in Japan if they are going to a Steiner school, their admission to Japanese colleges and universities is not possible. As a result, some students choolse to leave Steiner schools when they reach high school. High schools are also expensive to manage because of the students' material needs. For example, equipment and facilities for scientific experiments is expensive. As a result there were suggestions that schools cooperatively operate high schools. For example having schools in a geographic area cooperate to open regional high schools with dormitory facilities so that children who continue in Steiner schools could travel to learn at cooperatively managed schools.

The next main order of business was the establishement of a federation of steiner schools in Japan. The suggestion met with a mix of opinions. The main objectives, laid out by the original presenter of the idea were,
1. Serve as a clearing house for information on Steiner schools in Japan and the world for
   a. media
   b. prospective students and parents
   c. current students and parents
   d. teachers and prospective teachers
   e. international media learners and scholars
   f. prospective donors
2. Serve as a political action group
3. Serve as a sanctioning body for Steiner schools in Japan
4. Serve as an economic buffer for schools that require immediate financial support

The final two issues coverd included Steiner Schools in Asia and criticisms of Waldorf schools.

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