Kick off meeting for networking Nepalese language supplementary class organizers and supporters

On 23 April, the project called a kick off meeting for networking Nepalese language supplementary classes organisers and Nepalese language supporters and interpreters working for public schools in Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe and Fukuoka. Five participants shared about their works in these cities with others at this online meeting.  

Mr. Resham Upreti and Ms. Kavita Thapa are few foreign language supporters directly employed by the education board of Nagoya Metropolitan City. They are stationed in public schools in Nagoya and visit all public education facilities from nursery to junior high school levels where migrant children, mostly from Nepal, need help. As interpreters, they also provide back-up support to Nepalese parents upon request by the schools. Besides the above-mentioned official engagement, Resham organises weekend supplementary class in collaboration with Japanese volunteers at Meiji Community Centre in Nagoya. They teach Japanese language and organise cultural exchanges between Nepalese and Japanese residents in the locality.

Osaka is the only prefecture in Japan where the public high schools offer mother tongue education for migrant students. As one of the Nepali language teachers, Ms. Bina Shrestha, one of the Nepalese language teachers, teaches approximately 30 students at two high schools. She also serves for Nepalese children and parents as a translator and interpreter for elementary schools and junior high schools in Osaka. Fortunately, migrant children in Osaka can continue learning their mother tongue as a part of formal education in Japan. However, she observes the migrant children’s struggles on their integration in Japan and re-integration in Nepal.

Mr. Pritam Golay is a full-time teacher at Hyogo Prefectural Ashiya International Secondary School and teaches Nepali language to students from Nepal and beyond. He is concerned about not only the mother tonge education, but also the readjustment of Nepalese children enrolled in Japanese public schools. He operates a supplementary school called Sewa International School where Nepalese children can learn Nepali, English, and Japanese and can get support for other subjects, e.g. mathematics.

In Fukuoka, Nepalese migrant group called “Hamro Nepal, Hami Nepali Abhiyan Japan” operates supplementary class called Babunai Gyanshala for the Nepalese children enrolled in public schools in Japan at free of cost since 2021. Mr. Janardan Pyakurel, a staff of a Japanese language school, teaches Nepali there. In collaboration with Vietnamese language class operator group, this group has organized interaction meetings with guardians and policy makers. The group has been lobbying for the availability of public space for mother tongue education.

Mr Arjun Sadaula, a Nepalese language teacher at a Nepalese government curriculum-based school, Everest International School Japan, also participated in the meeting. He shared challenges of teaching academic Nepali language to migrant children and introduced the initiation by EISJ to develop and implement Nepalese Language proficiency test targeting Nepali language learners overseas. He emphasized the importance of supplementary language classes for the children who have not access to Nepalese curriculum-based schools.

The meeting was useful for the Nepalese language class organizers and resource persons working for education department of different cities to explore about the educational and linguistic challenges that Nepalese immigrant children in Japan face. We can see that there has been nascent initiation by different individuals and group with different degree of involvement of Japanese supporters. The experience sharing and networking among these initiations is expected to enrich curricular and teaching-learning aspects, thus benefitting the children and the families.