If a student has been studying in the Japanese national system and is preparing for transition to international schooling at high school level, attention needs to be paid to three points which are discussed below.
Firstly, check if the international school is recognised as a high school by statute in Japan. If not, students will not be able to obtain a Japanese high school diploma upon graduation. If the school is internationally accredited, check whether students will graduate with a qualification such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma which will allow them to apply for universities worldwide. It is important to confirm the type of school leaving qualification prior to enrolment.
Next, the student’s current level of English proficiency has to be considered. It is often found that the English lesson provision at local middle schools does not suffice to prepare students for an English-speaking learning environment. If the student finishes middle school in March and the international school’s academic year starts in September, it may be worth spending the half-year gap receiving extra English language tuition or joining a ‘Bridging Programme’ offered by the international school.
Finally, if the student aims to go to university overseas, it would probably be worth choosing an international school where boarding is offered. Living independently away from home is a crucial skill to acquire, and helps maximise the value of an international educational environment.
To sum up, check:
-The type of course and high school qualification
-If a preparatory programme is on offer
-Whether it is a day or boarding school