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Education-Friendly Tokyo Lends Private Lesson Fees

Posted April. 18, 2008 03:21,   


Japanese media including the Asahi Shimbun reported Thursday that starting this coming August, the Metropolis of Tokyo decided to offer interest-free loans to ninth and 12th graders for private institute enrollment and college entrance exam fees.

The expected move is aimed at breaking the vicious circle where differences in parents’ earning power translate into students’ performances, leading to the poorer ones’ difficulty in pursuing higher education or landing a job.

It is said that metropolis Tokyo is considering exempting students from repaying their debts if they make it into high schools or universities.

Japanese media reported that this would be the first case where a municipal government extends interest-free loans to children from low income families who are not on welfare.

Those who are eligible for the scheme are students in a family of four with an annual income less than 3.8 million yen. The Metropolis of Tokyo thinks that there are 1,800 ninth graders and 900 12th graders who can benefit from the new plan.

The maximum amount of loans for a ninth grader is 150,000 yen annually and 200,000 yen for a 12th grader. According to a Tokyo estimate, a ninth grader spends 250,000 yen on tuition for private institutes a year.

According to a 2006 study by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology on children’s education expense, 28 percent of families, whose children attend public middle schools, do not sent their kids to private institutes. However, for a family with less than four million yen in annual income, the number was 45 percent.