AMICUS dream is alive and well despite of rocky seas

By Edo Heinrich-Sanchez

March is the time for graduations in Okinawa and yesterday a new class graduated at Okinawa AMICUS International school,.  Proud parents, teachers and all involved looked on as another group moved forward.

Congratulations to the students and the teachers along with the parents who have supported them up to this special time.

Last week’s column created a quite a stir.  I will add to last week’s on-line version to better report on my sources of information and points about the great teachers there.

AMICUS has dedicated teachers who are striving to live up to the “Best in the World” goals of education connected to its founding principals which were connected to the support of the opening of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST).

It has been a rocky three years with high hopes for the new Junior High School to start Apr. 1st.  Last Sunday, after a long list of meetings and requests, the AMICUS Parents and Teachers Association was recognized.  According to parents who attended the meeting (names withheld by request at this time) they will elect the PTA president in May or June.

The teachers at AMICUS were also involved in the petition/proposal to the Okinawa Prefecture Assembly and initially submitted letters “anonymously”.  Soon after and after the AMICUS Teachers’ Union was formed under protection of the union, the letters were re-submitted with their names.  Teachers want the best for the kids at AMICUS and would like to avoid bad publicity at all costs while searching for a way to keep a fair workplace striving for the best educational standards possible with the tools and budgets at hand.

It is moving to see this level of dedication a midst three years of stormy seas.

The new PTA is invited to join Kyued Up this Saturday from 14:00 at OIST to form part of the case study “AMICUS Reform” to use “Design Thinking” methods to find solutions: http://pullapproach.com/

AMICUS is still sea worthy yet exhaustion has a bit set in for those involved.  They continue to believe in the AMICUS dream (including myself), strive to patch up and sail towards a bright future of sustainability.

This AMICUS ship has been running into the reefs here and again, plagued by management decisions captained by Obunsha’s management.

In last week’s column the question was raised:  Who is running AMICUS?  Who are the board members?  I requested a copy of the board members and was asked to make an official signed request by a key administrator at AMICUS (name withheld by request).  She also made it clear that it might or might not be approved by the principal.  In 2009, I had made the same request by phone and e-mail and was cheerfully faxed a copy of such along with a “your welcome” that same day.

When asked if this was possible again, to fax a copy the list of the board members, I was told that the chairman of the board Mr. Akao of Obunsha is the only one that can release it.

It needed in a hurry to call the Okinawa Prefecture.  I did.  They told me to call AMICUS.  When realizing I was referred to them by AMICUS, they kindly referred me to the Government Information Center to make an official request, which then could be approved.

A complete list will be released to this column in a meeting with key board members.

On March 14th in the spirit of AMICUS CURIAE (see online version for definition) as a friend of the Okinawa Prefecture Assembly’s inquiry and part of the I Love Okinawa Campaign® a petition/proposal was turned in to the Okinawa Prefecture Assembly requesting that an AMICUS Emergency Task Force Committee be formed with special audit powers.  In light of over 40 students who are retiring from the school, a management freeze to facilitate an investigation is recommended in order to address this issue along with a temporary freeze on the dismissal of any teachers or employees who have voiced concerns.

In the founding documents between Okinawa Prefecture, Uruma City and Obunsha Co. Ltd. it is stated the management is placed on the latter “for the meantime”.

As we come to the end of the fiscal year and next week’s Okinawa Prefecture Assembly hearings, we all look forward to graduating from issues and problems and sail on towards a bright future for Okinawa AMICUS International.

Comments welcome to edo@okinawaocean.org or chiefnavi@gmail.com