The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) surveyed organizations and associations nationwide accepting educational travel to Japan (e.g., prefectural tourism divisions and tourist associations) on the acceptance of educational travel to Japan in FY2020.
The responses received from 47 organizations and associations, across all prefectures, were compiled, and a summary is provided on this page.
In FY2020, due to the spread of COVID-19, it was difficult to actually accept participants. The number of schools which conducted online exchanges increased, so this survey is centered on the implementation status of such online exchanges.
Please note that the responses collected are based on the understanding of the staff member who completed the questionnaire, and may not accurately reflect the circumstances of each area.
1. FY2020 school exchanges (online exchanges)
Regarding the implementation status of online exchanges, 45% responded “none”. The response for conducting matching of online exchanges with schools which already have a prior record was 25%, while the response for conducting matching with schools which do not have a record was 18%. There were other answers, such as schools conducted their own exchanges without matching, or exchanged video letters.
2. Percentage of number of online exchanges held by country/region
Regarding the percentage of the number of online exchanges held by market, participation from Taiwan was 73%, and Australia 9%. These two countries and regions accounted for over 80% of the total. The aims and contents of the online exchanges differed depending on country, region, and age.
3. Percentage of number of schools which held online exchanges
Regarding the number of schools which held online exchanges, senior high schools accounted for the most, at 89%. Next was junior high schools at 7%, and elementary schools at 3%. For senior high schools, there were multiple answers which said online exchanges were held with Taiwanese senior high schools which have a record of making educational trips.
4. Tools used for online exchanges
Online exchanges were conducted by video conference tools. We examined which tools were used the most. The results were Zoom at 47% and Google Meet at 33%. These two accounted for 80% of the overall usage.
5. Average interaction time of online exchanges
Regarding the average interaction time of online exchanges, 28% of respondents said 60 minutes, and 13% said 90 minutes. The result for all schools was within 120 minutes. Last year, when actual exchanges took place, the answer of around 80% was over three hours. Compared with this, interaction time online is shorter.
6. Online exchange contents
When we asked about the contents of online exchanges, we received the following responses:
Country/region and school life introduction
Mutual understanding was deepened through the introduction of each other’s region and its culture, and school and school life.
Discussions and presentations etc. on a set theme
Discussions and presentations were held on set themes, such as SDGs and environmental issues.
Exchange through quizzes and games
Exchange was conducted through quizzes, word games and gesture games, and song and dance performances.
7. Roles of officials in charge of the online exchanges
The following three main roles of officials in charge when conducting online exchanges were mentioned:
Liaison and coordination before the exchange
Prior contact and liaison with the overseas and local schools to set the day and contents, etc.
Selection and matching etc. of exchange schools
Role connecting schools with a view to conducting online exchange, and providing case studies of schools which are already conducting online exchanges.
Internet environment preparation and installation
Introduction of the conference tools (licensing) needed for online exchanges, and support and lending of speakers, microphones and web cameras, etc.
8. Online exchanges with overseas schools during the time when school visits to Japan cannot be made (Multiple answers possible)
We examined the online exchanges and matching implementation status with overseas schools in each municipality during the time when actual exchange was not possible due to the spread of COVID-19.
While there were responses saying matching records already existed, and online exchanges were being held, there were also responses saying that online exchange matching is not conducted.
Other responses included, “There were consultations regarding real exchange with foreign students studying in Japan, and not online exchanges”, “If schools consult with us, we want to proactively proceed with exchanges”, and “We will consider requests if they are made”.
9. Implementation in FY2021
We examined the implementation status of school exchanges in FY2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic (as of May 2021). The response for currently considering it depending on the circumstances was 59%, while 25% responded that they would implement exchange (in person) with overseas schools if it was possible to travel. Other answers included, “We are leaving the decision regarding implementation of school exchanges up to each school”.
10. Guideline creation for exchange implementation in the COVID-19 pandemic
We examined the creation of guidelines with a view to resuming exchanges with overseas schools in the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, 69% answered that they were considering it, 23% that they were not creating guidelines, and 4% that they were actually creating guidelines.
11. New initiatives with a view to resuming Japan Educational Travel
Regarding initiatives with a view to resuming Japan Educational Travel, we received the following responses. Some which are scheduled to be implemented are also included.
- Online information sessions and meetings targeting travel companies and schools which want to visit Japan
- Listening to opinions and exchanging information with the schools, issue management and countermeasure creation, etc.
- Creation of contents which promote Japan Educational Travel (Videos, pamphlets, websites, SDGs and exploration-type experience programs, etc.)
12. Future issues for school exchanges (including online exchanges)
The following responses were particularly numerous regarding future issues for school interactions, including online exchanges:
COVID-19 measures for when in-person exchanges resume
What safety measures to implement when the COVID-19 situation has settled and in-person school exchanges resume. Creation of judgment criteria for resumption and guidelines for safe and secure exchange, etc.
Maintenance of environment to conduct online exchange
Maintenance of the necessary environment to conduct online exchanges, such as Internet environment maintenance and securement of communication devices. The issue of equipment variance in schools, including public schools, and regions.
The difficulty of matching
Issues relating to school mediation which can meet mutual needs in the case that there is an increase in the number of schools wanting online exchanges in the future. (The number of schools in the prefecture which are positive about exchanges with overseas schools is small, etc.)