NHK Academy of Distance Learning

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NHK Academy of Distance Learning is an educational institution established as one of the affiliated bodies of NHK, Japan Broadcasting Corporation. It consists of three sections. They are a high school, a social welfare education and lifelong learning courses. These are operated on a correspondence basis (postal system in Japan, NHK's educational programs on TV and radio, and new methods of audio-visual education, including e-learning)

High School

In the 1960s, when NHK Gakuen Correspondence High School started, the enrollment rate of high school education in Japan was less than 40%. At that time, the important role of this school was to spread high school education farther and wider for those who could not go to ordinary high school due to economic or other reasons. In recent years, the enrollment rate comes up to more than 97%, but there are still a certain member of people who cannot go to high school regularly; some students cannot find a high school suitable for them, some others cannot adapt to school.

NHK Gakuen offers the following courses.

1. General Course

Students study 74 credits over three years in this course. Finishing all the provided subjects, the students are officially certificated as high school graduates. They have to participate in three major activities; studying with TV and radio, making reports and attending school for classroom instruction. Students learn with NHK TV and radio programs and are provided textbooks based on high school curriculum, send in reports on each subject once a month or so, and the teachers of NHK Gakuen correct, evaluate and return them to each student. Instructors also do their best to encourage students not to drop out. Perseverance is the most effective tool for learning. Not only by mail but also by telephone students can get in touch with teachers for close and direct instruction. In addition to communication by mail, NHK Gakuen has introduced a new system of learning, 'e-learning' . Students are also required to attend some fixed hours of schooling once a month. It is held at NHK Gakuen in Kunitachi, Tokyo and 33 cooperating high schools in each district all over Japan. NHK Gakuen also opens intensive schooling twice a year for those who cannot attend monthly schooling.

2. Special Course for Overseas Japanese

This is a course for students who move abroad willing to continue studying the Japanese high school curriculum preparation for their return to Japan.

Social Welfare Course for the Graduates of High School (two-year program)

In 1988, the Social Welfare Course was created as an advanced extension to the ordinary high school curriculum. The Social Welfare Course is designed to help students to become community volunteers capable of creating a better community and to train themselves to become caring professionals called "certified care workers". The curriculum includes comprehensive studies of topics that concern the public, including the environment, day-to-day living and culture, and challenges facing human beings, in addition to theoretical studies on welfare. Furthermore, students gain an understanding of the significance of welfare through field education that includes hands-on experience and training as volunteers and social welfare specialists. The academy has a total enrollment of 4,000 students at present, while the graduates of the program, of which there are currently more than 27,000, are actively engaged in social welfare projects across the nation.

Features of Social Welfare Course

1. Preparation for the State Examination for Certified Care Worker The completion of the prescribed courses during the two-year study qualify students for the national exam to become certified care workers.

2. Community School Network This is a network initiated and run by the graduates, and deals with welfare activities in a number of communities.