03/28/2019, 15.47
JAPAN
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Elite school students get childcare lessons to be future fathers and model husbands

Nowadays one “can no longer think that you do not need to take care of your children because you are a man,” says Nada Junior and Senior High School principal. Sharing “household duties and flexibly change their way of working according to the family situation” is part of the curriculum at the Seiko Gakuin junior high school.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – As incubators of tomorrow's leaders, several Japanese elite all-male high schools teach boys how to raise children and build equal relationships with their future wives.

School officials note that times have changed and students should no longer think that a husband’s sole role in the family is to be the breadwinner, whilst their wife is in charge of the domestic hearth.

Last October, students at the Nada Junior and Senior High School in Kobe’s Higashi-Nada took part in the annual baby class. Seven babies took part in the activities, including play, designed to make the boys familiar with infants.

Assisted by their respective wives, teachers Katadason and Takuya Ikeda explained to the boys the responsibilities that come from being parents. The two women then talked about their careers.

“We hope that learning such things at an early age will enable our students to consider taking paternity leave in the future or at least to understand how hard their wives’ jobs are even if their partners are mainly in charge of child-rearing,” said Katadason.

The Nada school started providing this kind of education for first-year junior high students four years ago. The third-year high school students experienced such activities last year for the first time.

A high percentage of the school’s students have mothers who are full-time homemakers, and most of their teachers are men. Under such circumstances, most of them have few opportunities to see women working full time, according to Katadason.

Magohiro Wada, 66, principal of the school, welcomes the baby classes. “We are in a period with an increasing number of double-career households, and you can no longer think that you do not need to take care of your children because you are a man,” Wada explained. “Such (educational) experiences are needed for men who will live in the incoming era.”

More than five years ago, second-year high school students at Waseda Junior and Senior High School in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward started sampling weaning diets in homemaking education classes held once a year.

Reiko Tamura, 50, the teacher in charge of the curriculum, said, “If they [boys] have experience or knowledge about child-rearing, they will be able to become fathers who are proactively involved in parenting.”

Last month’s admissions test at Seiko Gakuin Junior High School in Yokohama included questions about the law enacted in May 2018 to eliminate discrimination against women in marriage and the workplace.

“You need to be able to play the role of a husband or father at home at a world-class level to live as an international person,” school principal Seiichi Kudo, 63, often tells students.

“We wish to nurture personnel resources with the strength to share household duties and flexibly change their way of working according to the family situation, such as children or old parents who need care, based on the concept of an equal partnership between a husband and wife,” Kudo explained.

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