Japanese nursery offers free tutoring to Vietnamese children

By Minh Nga   March 3, 2024 | 05:34 pm PT
Japanese nursery offers free tutoring to Vietnamese children
Children in Japan's Osaka City. Photo by Unsplash/notethanun
An Osaka-based nursery is spearheading efforts to keep Vietnamese children from falling behind academically due to language barriers.

Located in Ikuno Ward, a culturally diverse area of Japan's Osaka City, the Ikunokomorebi Hoikuen nursery serves a substantial number of Vietnamese children, many of whom face challenges with the Japanese language upon arrival in Japan.

Keiko Tsujimoto, the 72-year-old head of the nursery, in spring last year started a weekly 30-minute Japanese study session for preschoolers who need help with the language, according to Kyodo News.

About 10 children participate regularly, learning basic Japanese phonetics and vocabulary.

The nursery's diverse environment is reflected in its activities, including meals like pho, a Vietnamese typical noodle dish, which helps children bond over shared cultural experiences.

Ikuno Ward, with its affordable living costs and employment opportunities in small factories and warehouses, attracts many Vietnamese migrants, and the number of children of Vietnamese descent surged three years ago.

The nursery, which caters to nearly half Vietnamese children among its 98 preschoolers, also serves Chinese and Korean children.

Vietnamese constitute the largest percentage of the foreign workforce in Japan, followed by Chinese and Filipino workers, according to Japan's labor ministry.

By October 2023, Japan had over 2,048,600 foreign workers in the country, an increase of around 226,000 workers compared to the same period in 2022.

Among them, almost 518,350 workers were Vietnamese, accounting for 25% of the foreign workforce, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced, as cited by Japan Times.

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