Shiiba Village Japan

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Shiiba Junior High School

TEL/FAX (0982) 67-2004

Shiiba JHS is the larger of Shiiba's two Junior High Schools. About 130 students attend Shiiba JHS. As transportation is difficult due to the mountains and curvy roads, about half of the students have to live in the dormitory while they attend school.

There are no High Schools in Shiiba. After graduation at age 15, students must leave the village. Thanks to a new tunnel connecting Shiiba with Gokase, it may be possible for some students to commute by bus from home to a High School in the town of Gokase.

The people of Shiiba have seen its population shrink from about 15,000 (1950's - prior to the construction of the Shiiba dam) to its current level of 4200. Like youth in the rest of rural Japan, Shiiba's are leaving for school and not returning. Basically 40% of Shiiba's youth move away from "home" at age 12. By the time these kids graduate from college they have been away from "home" for a decade. Few are willing or even able to make the transition back to life in the country - for it is a way of life that they are no longer able to understand. It is a way of life that they have been denied by an educational system which only knows "one pattern."

Despite the odds, great efforts are made to teach the young people of Shiiba about its language, culture and history. The Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) in Shiiba are very active and take a very "hands on approach" with respect to the promotion and preservation of local culture. In addition, the local Board of Education offers direction and support to Shiiba's schools.

Japanese teachers are only temporary residents of the places where they work. In Shiiba teachers usually transfer to another city or town after just three years of service. Of all of the teachers that I have worked with in Shiiba Village, only one has stayed more than five years. The best teachers are usually the ones who take the time to learn about what Shiiba has to offer.