Tokyo is well known for being remarkably convenient; however, navigating around schools, programs, or education style is not. For internationally-oriented families—often temporarily living in Japan—International Schools (IS) can be a better option over local schools. Let’s discuss a few things you may want to consider before diving into it!
1. School admission and structure
To start with the obvious, the calendar year of IS tends to reflect the system of schools abroad, with a school year starting sometime around the last 10 days of August. In contrast—though maybe not for long given the potential influence of Covid-19—, the current school and the fiscal years in Japan start at the beginning of April. Not taking summer schools into account, that come with additional costs, the last day of school can be anytime in June.
Regarding admissions, nurseries will usually accept children from three years old, but it can vary according to schools. Transfer students will generally need to take a test to produce evidence of their levels, on top of school transcripts.
Tuition and fees
Environment wise, IS tend to have practical, large and well-coordinated infrastructures and campuses, many with numerous school buses running in plenty of neighborhoods. Evidently, these amenities contribute to the infamous tuition and fees ranging from about ¥600,000 to up to ¥5,000,000 for the first year—the yearly tuition varies according to the grade, and some fees are paid only once—most commonly around ¥3,000,000. Therefore these estimates include some school-specific one-off charges like application, registration, building maintenance, or land and building development.
© Photo by Nichimachi International School
Nishimachi International School campus
Other things to consider
Besides these costs, several reputable schools have substantial waiting lists based on the order of application or following selective criteria. This selection process can be stringent, possibly including—but not limited to—spoken languages, intellectual skills, …continue reading