Tokyo to launch virtual learning platform for truant children

Tokyo to launch virtual learning platform for truant children

TOKYO -- The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education is about to launch a virtual learning platform for children who have stopped attending school, so they can learn and interact with each other via the metaverse, the board announced on December 2.

The program will be tested with some 30 elementary and junior high school students in Shinjuku Ward later this month, in conjunction with the ward's board of education.

The goal is to make a forum for children to learn and take part in classes using web conferencing systems.

The virtual learning platform will come in three forms: a floor for students who don't want to go to school or find it hard to do so for other reasons, a floor for students who have recently arrived in Japan and can't understand the Japanese language well, and a common floor for all types of students.

With the program, children will be able to ask questions from teachers and support staff who have their own avatars, and will be able to interact with each other using their avatar to move around the metaverse. The children can not only chat with their mentors, but they can also talk to them face to face online.

The metropolitan education board is planning to expand the virtual learning platform to other cities in the capital in the spring of 2023.

As of the 2021 academic year, 21,536 children in the capital had stopped attending elementary or junior high schools, jumping around 1.2 times the figure in the previous school year. The board attributes the rise in the number of truant children to the lack of anxiety and disruptions to their lifestyles amid the coronaviruses epidemic.

A metropolitan education board official said that they hope that this initiative will open up an opportunity for truant children to connect with society.