24 March 2022 at 9:00 am

Tokyo Online School Forum

More than 150 high school students from Japan, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam joined an online forum last month, hosted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education (BoE). The topics under discussion were new brain science and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the BoE in 2017 to promote educational and cultural exchange between Tokyo and New Zealand. The result has been a series of continuously successful exchanges between the two countries, including this latest forum.

For many students, this was their first time interacting with so many high school students from outside their own country, in a virtual forum.

Japanese neuroscientist Kenichiro Mogi, a visiting professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, spoke about AI and the human brain, and the importance of eating well to maintain a healthy mindset. Following his lecture, students were given several topics to discuss in breakout sessions. They chose specific English words which they felt connected to the 17 SDGs, such as ‘humanity’, ‘compassion’, ‘education’, ‘resonance’ and ‘power’. 

Students had a range of positive responses when asked what they had enjoyed most about the experience:  


“The chance to connect with other students from across the world.” – Nandana  


“I enjoyed listening and interacting with students from different countries. I also enjoyed learning about foods and ways to make food I’ve never seen before.” – Tammy 


“Learning new things and what other people thought” – Eliza   


“The speeches were very interesting, and the hosts were entertaining. I loved the information I learnt in this forum!” – Rio


“It was great to see such a large New Zealand presence at the Tokyo Forum, which supports the ‘Creating Global Citizens’ pillar of the New Zealand International Education Strategy,” says Misa Kitaoka, ENZ’s Director of Education – Japan.

“We look forward to bringing more opportunities to connect Japanese and New Zealand students through our shared commitment to progress towards UN SDGs.” 

Other projects that ENZ and Tokyo BoE have been working on together include the development of an SDG lecture series, featured on their Tokyo English Channel.

Get a flavour of the event by checking out the promotional flyer here (Japanese language).

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