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New school textbooks to make first debut soon

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15 February 2011

One of the many inspirations displayed by overseas volunteer workers and technical knowledge transfer programs being tendered in Tonga, is when a number of former and current Japanese volunteers engaged by the Japan International Cooperation Agency's (JICA), gives more dedicated effort and commitment to reproducing and documenting their teaching materials for Tonga's school children.

In the form of study guides and teaching textbooks, some Japanese volunteers have written special learning materials tailored to best-suit Tonga's own curriculum system at each level and grade of learning.

To date, the latest textbook revision work is one carried out by JICA volunteer, Mr. Yukio Shimamura, who works for the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU) of the Ministry of Education, Women Affairs and Culture. Mr. Shimamura is currently revising a number of mathematics textbooks for primary school students.

For the first time in ten years, since this was started, a new textbook is completed and will be distributed to schools in this coming new school term.

"It is common sense that many experts including the professor of the university are concerned with the making of textbook in Japan. I had to perform all work alone in Tonga, I was very hard for these two years," said Mr. Shimamura.

He has been working alone on this project for the last two years, and although the many difficulties he faced, his perseverance, spending long hours at his PC every day, he has successfully completed four textbooks for each primary school students from class1 to class 4. .

Nevertheless, his courage came from the very students he was writing the textbooks for. "However, students will use the textbooks make me so happy, it becomes more enjoyable to understand what lessons the children will be rewarded as I feel the pain so far."

Mr. Shimamura's current work is a textbook for fifth graders and a beta release is already completed for distribution. He believes that with the new textbooks being released, this could mean a big change for primary school education in Tonga.

He added, "From an offer of the one-sided knowledge by the conventional teacher, it will change to a student think himself and solve it by himself class-style mainly on a textbook offered newly.

"In the field of mathematics, it is expected to improve the ability to think more deeply."

In March 2009, Mr. Shimamura came to Tonga with fellow colleague Mrs. Mariko who was a former kindergartner teacher. It iis the strong support of Mrs. Mariko to whom the success of the textbooks are also owed to. She spends her time helping her husband, and making a comfortable home environment during the stressful undertaking, helping with editing of text books.

This year, their two-year terms of office as JICA volunteer to Tonga will complete on March 21 when they will be expected to return to their homeland Japan. This will not only mark a successful attachment to Tonga with the accomplishment of their dedicated work as volunteers, but also marks Tonga as a special place in their hearts where it unites them together as a couple.


Issued by the: Minsitry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2011.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 December 2012 10:38 )  

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