Last week, two major Japan news sites (Japan Times and Japan Today), that I like to visit, reported that Yokohama City on Sunday, 5th April, inaugurated the Yokohama Science Frontier High School, a new public high school emphasizing the teaching of advanced science and technology. The aim of this school is to nurture Japanese scientists who will be active all over za warudo.

yokohama-landmark-tower

Landmark Tower, Japan's tallest building, is in Yokohama city

In order to provide its students with “science literacy curricula” focusing on experiment-based science subjects, the school has tied up with universities, institutions and corporations so that renowned academics and scientists can act as special advisers. Students will study such fields as biological science, the environment, nanotechnology and information and communications, before specializing in an area of their choice. They are expected to write up their study results in English, school officials said.The city of Yokohama has provided the school with advanced equipment and facilities.

My comments:
This is a great development as it will help to nurture scientific minds from an early age. They will not waste their precious time with curricula that will not lead them anywhere. The other good thing is that they will do their studies in English.

When I was in high school, I wasted my precious time with Chichewa literature (Kalenga ndi Mzake, Mkwatibwi Okhumudwa, Nthondo, Miyambo ya Achewa etc.) and grammar (mphatikira pakati, mphatikira pambuyo, mneni, mfotokozi). Take note that no offense is intended against scholars who specialize in these areas. Actually, as a career counselor, I advise people to specialize in specific fields based on their ability and interests. So if you are good at Chichewa, or History, or any other subject, and you have a huge interest in it, I encourage you to go for it wholeheartedly.You will surely have a great career if you work hard. Similarly, it is not good for you to be tortured with Calculus, Trigonometry, Electrostatics, Electromagnetism etc.

Let me continue with my story. In my secondary school days, I also studied a lot of  history which is not important to my career path. For instance, of what use is Vietnam’s history to me? When I told my Vietnamese friends about Battle of Dien Bien Phu, in which the French were comprehensively defeated by the Vietnamese in 1954, they were so surprised. Actually, they knew literally nothing about Malawi, my home country, until they met me. Everyday, history is being made in different parts of  za warudo. Not every bit of history is good for our kids. Let us teach our kids only relevant history.

Malawi and other developing countries must emulate Japan’s example. They should set up at least one public high school dedicated to science and technology. The equipment and facilities might not be advanced as in Japan. But our promising scientific brains will not waste their time on non-scientific curricula like most of us did. Entrance into these high schools should be purely based on merit.  Separate written entrance exams (Mathematics, Science, Logic and English), similar to the ones which used to be administered for entrance into the Kamuzu Academy, have to be administered. A group of students from across the country who do better than others will then have to be invited for interviews. A list of successful students will be decided after these interviews.