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Off target on Japan

Schools join the global market

Schools have some way to go in providing a comfortable experience for overseas pupils, a study of Japanese children aged 11-13 attending schools in England and Scotland has found.

The research, by Joanna McPake and Janet Powney of the Scottish Council for Research in Education, suggests many teachers often make "inappropriate" recommendations to Japanese parents. One result is that they opt for private education where they feel academic achievement is more highly prized.

Teachers were well disposed towards Japanese pupils, had high expectations and "overt racism" was rare. But the study warns: "UK-centrism is widespread, and the recognition of cultural diversity in approaches to learning is largely absent."

John Mitchell, former head of the international relations branch at the Scottish Office, said schools had to take account of strains on Japanese children, not only of learning in a foreign environment but of anticipating a return to the more competitive pressures of their own schools.

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