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Why I am letting my 2-year-old daughter learn English and French

Author: Akihiko Ozaki, Medical Governance Research Institute

In this series of articles, I would like to introduce my daily life with my two-year-old daughter, who is currently studying English and French at an international school. In this first article, I would like to introduce why my wife and I decided to start such an education for our daughter.

At present, my two-year-old daughter attends an international school for French on weekdays and English on Saturdays, so she is immersed in different languages every day. Both my wife and I were born to Japanese parents, and both grew up in the Japanese educational system. Naturally, our daughter was initially left at a nearby daycare center. However, A few months ago, we changed her school to the current one.

What influenced our thinking the most was the pandemic of the novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19), which started just a few months after the birth of my daughter. In this pandemic, it has become much more difficult to travel to and from foreign countries than in the past. In particular, Japan has imposed stricter restrictions on travel to and from foreign countries than other countries, and this attitude has been criticized so intensely from abroad.

Even before the pandemic, Japan's relative economic power and international presence has been continuously on the decline. In addition, due to its questionable response to the COVID-19 pandemic, also known as "isolationism," Japan is likely to lose more and more of its presence in the world in the foreseeable future. In this regard, I thought that receiving an education in Japan, where the future prospects would not be bright, would in itself limit future possibilities of my daughter.

Also, the more I thought about these facts, the more I questioned the fierce competition for entrance examinations waged at elementary schools in Tokyo. According to one of my friends, it has not changed at all since he was in elementary school more than two decades ago. I think that this may not be a good sign given that the world is changing at a rapid pace.

Of course, if my daughter wants to be educated in Japan in the future, she should attend a Japanese school as a majority of children do so. In this regard, I thought that it is better to expose her to a different educational system from Japan at an early age in order to determine her suitability. This is because the educational requirements in Japan are different from those adopted by international schools, and they are not compatible with each other.

The reason why I am interested in French international schools is because I have heard that in a few decades, there will be more people whose first language is French than those whose first language is English. This is because the population of West Africa, the former French dominion, will increase in the future. The French international school also had the advantage of lower tuition fees compared to English-language international schools.

So far, she seems to be enjoying attending both the French and English international schools more than we expected. As she continues to grow, there will come a time when she will look at her environment from a broader perspective. At that time, my wife and I would like to support her on the path she wants to take by having flat discussions with her.


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