The Japanese city of Toda, situated north of Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture, has started using metaverse-based tools to incorporate education from home and fight absenteeism in schools.
According to local media outlet NHK World Japan, the new service will allow students to use an avatar to explore virtual campuses and attend online classes. Students have to seek approval from respective school principals to attend the classes on the metaverse and get attendance.
School absenteeism is a growing issue in Japan. A government survey showed 244,940 Japanese elementary and junior high school students were absent for at least 30 days last year. That’s an increase for the ninth straight year, and school restrictions during the global pandemic have exacerbated the issue.
While factors such as bullying and anxiety have played a key role, a fifth grader who has been absent from school for the last two years said that it was much easier to carry conversations online.
Sugimori Masayuki, the head of Toda’s education center, hopes the new initiative will improve attendance in the virtual world, eventually preparing students to lead independent lives in society.
Educational institutes across Japan are trying to use Web3 tools to tackle the issue. In July, the University of Tokyo notified that it will be starting certain courses in the field of engineering for its student in the metaverse later this year.
Kadokawa Dwango Educational Institute, which operates correspondence high schools in Japan, recently partnered with Meta Platforms Inc., formerly Facebook Inc., to offer over 1,200 students educational programs using virtual and augmented reality.