Virtual high school in Japan
RICK: It’s not just time for school in America – across the globe students are learning in all different ways. Many of you probably use computers and tablets at school, but for some students in Japan these devices are their school. Up next, reporter Will Ripley takes us to Japan, where one school caters to a unique kind of student.
JAPAN'S CONFORMIST CLASSROOM SETTING HAS CHANGED LITTLE OVER THE YEARS.
COMPARE JAPANESE STUDENTS TODAY -- TO ALMOST 25 YEARS AGO. THE SAME UNIFORMS, LONG HOURS, EVEN MANDATORY CLEANING DUTY. A DISCIPLINED, DEMANDING ENVIRONMENT - MUCH LIKE JAPANESE SOCIETY ITSELF.
TRADITIONAL SCHOOL LEFT IKUMI SHIMIZU INCREASINGLY FRUSTRATED WITH TRADITIONAL SCHOOL. TELLING HIS FATHER IT WAS A WASTE OF TIME.
(Makoto "Mak" Shimizu, Father) "He was in a situation where he had to pretend to get along with people around him."
MAK SHIMIZU WORRIED ABOUT HIS SON'S FUTURE.
(Makoto "Mak" Shimizu, Father) "Not going to high school. Not graduating high school or college would be a bad thing for him long term."
(Will Ripley) "You were afraid he would drop out?"
(Makoto "Mak" Shimizu, Father) "Yeah, yeah, yeah."
WITHDRAWING FROM SCHOOL -- AND SOCIETY -- IS A DOCUMENTED SOCIAL PHENOMENON IN JAPAN.
(Will Ripley) "They even have a word for it here -- hikikomori - reclusive teenagers and young adults who hole up in their homes - sometimes for years -- avoiding face-to-face contact."
A NEW JAPANESE GOVERNMENT SURVEY SAYS 541,000 - MORE THAN HALF A MILLION TEENAGERS AND YOUNG ADULTS - ARE HIKIKOMORI. AND THAT'S ACTUALLY DOWN FROM THE LAST SURVEY SIX YEARS AGO. THOSE WHO STUDY THE PROBLEM SAY JAPANESE ANIME, MANGA, AND VIDEO GAMES ALLOW SOME TO ESCAPE TO A FANTASY WORLD.
A WORLD THAT ONLY COMES TO LIFE AT SPECIAL EVENTS LIKE THIS. WHERE FANS ARE FREE TO DRESS LIKE THE CHARACTERS THEY IDOLIZE. THIS IS WHERE TAKESHI NATSUNO SEARCHES FOR STUDENTS WHO MAY BE ON THE VERGE OF DROPPING OUT.
(Takeshi Natsuno, Board Member, N High School) "We welcome the student who cannot fit into the standard program."
NATSUNO IS ON THE BOARD OF N HIGH SCHOOL. A FULLY ACCREDITED, VIRTUAL HIGH SCHOOL CREATED BY JAPANESE TECH COMPANIES - HOPING TO IDENTITY, EDUCATE, AND DEVELOP UNIQUE TALENT. SHIMIZU ENROLLED AS A FRESHMAN.
(Will Ripley) "So this is your school?"
(Ikumi Shimizu, Freshman, N High School) "Yeah."
HE OFTEN FINISHES A FULL DAY'S CLASSWORK IN LESS THAN AN HOUR.
ALLOWING THE 15-YEAR-OLD TO WORK PART-TIME AS AN IT ENGINEER - AND COMPETE IN GLOBAL HACKING COMPETITIONS.
HIS PARENTS HOPE LEARNING IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD, WILL LEAD TO SUCCESS IN THE REAL ONE. WILL RIPLEY, CNN, TOKYO.
Website Article: K12, Facts About K12 Public Virtual Schools
Website Article: Great! Schools, The Reality of Virtual Schools