Opening up the world for Tohoku students
The Ashinaga Junior English Camp is an international English education program taking place in the Philippines for elementary- and middle-school-age students from the Tohoku region, which was affected by natural disaster in 2011. English proficiency is a key skill in today’s globalized world, yet Japanese students still lag far behind many other highly developed countries. This is partly due to a lack of exposure to English speakers, and English education in Japan being heavily focused on grammar and reading comprehension instead of speaking and communication.
The Ashinaga Junior English Camp seeks to change this paradigm by sending young, orphaned students from Tohoku to the Philippines for a 10-day intensive English and cultural exchange program. The Philippines is a budding destination for learning English as a second language and provides students a setting in which to use practical English. The goals of the program are multifold: to create an opportunity for children to practice English in a social setting, to think of English as fun and exciting, to give them self-confidence, and to inspire them to continue improving their English skills after they return home. A successful pilot program was run in March 2015 and a subsequent program began in March 2016.