The standard of education and schools in Osaka is high. Most expats find the language of instruction an impractical option unless they plan on staying in Japan for the long term or if their children are young enough to pick up the language quickly.
For more on the national education system, see Education and Schools in Japan.
Public and private schools in Osaka
In Osaka, language support programmes are often provided in public schools, aimed at assisting non-Japanese-speaking students in adapting to the new environment. This can be critical for expat parents considering enrolling their children in local schools.
Public elementary and junior high schools in Osaka are assigned according to the family's address. Compulsory schooling lasts nine years, from the beginning of elementary school to the last year of junior high. During this period, education is free of charge for locals and foreigners alike, apart from contributions for teaching aids and the cost of school lunches.
Due to the high standard of public schools, most Japanese children attend them up to the end of junior high. When the time comes for making high school applications, there are generally more students than places available at the best public schools. Private schools typically have the space to accommodate students who aren't accepted to their public high school of choice.
International schools in Osaka
Most expat families in Osaka opt to send their children to one of the city's international schools. These schools teach a foreign curriculum in the language of the school's country of origin. Most commonly, these schools offer the US, UK or International Baccalaureate curriculum and teach in English, but there are also schools catering to other nationalities. For instance, the Deutsche Schule Kobe in nearby Kobe caters to German and European expatriates.
The best schools can quickly become oversubscribed, so it's always best to start applications as far in advance as possible. Fees at international schools worldwide have a reputation for being high, and Osaka is no exception. Tuition alone can be pricey, but there are often extra fees, some of which are compulsory, including fees for building maintenance, technology, bus service, lunches and extracurriculars.
Learn more about International Schools in Osaka.
Homeschooling in Osaka
Some expat families in Osaka opt for homeschooling. Expat communities in Osaka often organise homeschooling cooperatives or shared learning environments, providing social interaction and collective learning experiences. This can be a beneficial resource for parents considering homeschooling their child in Osaka.
Until the end of junior high, families must request permission from their assigned public school to homeschool. In most cases, schools are understanding and supportive, especially in cases where English support is limited at the school.
Special-needs education in Osaka
Osaka has several resources dedicated to special-needs students. Public schools in the city have special-needs support teams, and dedicated institutions like Osaka City Special Needs Education School specialise in providing high-quality education for children with specific needs.
Children with special educational needs usually attend public schools alongside the general student body wherever possible. Depending on the nature and severity of the child's disabilities, extra support is offered, whether in the form of attending special resource rooms a few times a week or attending special-needs classes within the school.
In the case of acute disabilities, children may attend a dedicated special-needs school. The curriculum at these schools is the same as that taught in public schools, with added activities that teach day-to-day living skills.
International schools often have support programmes for certain conditions or disabilities, though some offer more comprehensive assistance than others. This usually comes at an extra fee.
Tutors in Osaka
Tutoring services in Osaka often offer special programmes for preparing students for local high schools' and universities' entrance examinations and international standardised tests such as the SAT and ACT. These can benefit expat students navigating the Japanese education system or planning to study abroad.
Several prominent tutoring centres in Osaka, such as Kumon and Juku schools, offer personalised tutoring services. These centres have local and foreign educators adept at teaching as per the Japanese curriculum and international standards. Not all tutoring services provide equally good service, so it's best to do thorough research before deciding on a particular company. Recommendations from schools and fellow expats are usually the best place to start.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance
With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider. Cigna is currently offering a 10% discount for seniors (over 60) on their Silver package.
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