Prefecture Assembly questions AMICUS school management

By E. Heinrich-Sanchez

On Monday June 9th, the Okinawa Prefecture Assembly heard testimony from Okinawa AMICUS International School’s principal Tomokiyo Arakawa.  Some tough questions were presented.  About 15 parents including staff past and present also attended the hearings.

As in past columns the question was presented as to who is in charge of the school and responsible for decisions.  Principal Arakawa was joined by the new Office Manager Mr. Yokosuka.  Both hav been a little over a year at the school.  Veteran administrator and founding Office Manager Keiko Kamei has been on sick leave since April, and is not expected to return.  Principal Arakawa’s testimony was and is representative of the Executive Board of six members.

The Okinawa Prefecture Assembly again questioned the “Horse Club” and its cost which was stated at ¥10 million per year, half of which is paid from Obunsha Chairman’s own pocket.  Promises of creating a roadmap towards an Internatoinal Baccalaureate School were made along with a vow for transparency.

Members of the Okinawa Prefecture Assembly said that after two months not much has changed and added that they will be keeping an eye on the school.  It was reported that only seven OIST students are attending the school.  When asked, Principal Arakawa said that he has approached OIST several times without response. “More communications are planned and we have a sincere desire to rebuild the trust, which has been lost with parents, teachers, lawmakers and the people of Okinawa,” Arakawa said.

Parents submitted personally a letter directly to the Okinawa Prefecture Assembly on Monday, which somewhat contradicted some of the statements of improved communications with parents.  It was announced that a sort of Parent Teacher Association called SHAIN has been formed.  It was not clear the difference between SHAIN and PTA.

On June 23rd at the Chibana Court House, a hearing will take place concerning a lawsuit against Obunsha’s management of the school by former vice-principal and former personal advisor to Obunsha’s chairman.   Details will follow in next week’s JU after we have time to review the videos of the hearings.

I would also like to remind everyone that seats to the upcoming performance “Our Blue Planet Live” are still available.

Comments welcome to edo@okinawaocean.org