Posted: Wed 3rd Feb 2016

Japanese visitor keen to learn from Swansea /
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 3rd, 2016

A Japanese diplomat has visited Swansea on an international fact-finding mission. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Yasumasa Shinohara, a senior specialist at the Ministry of Education, Sports, Science and Technology in Tokyo, met with Swansea Council and Swansea University representatives at Guildhall to discuss the Learning City initiative. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Swansea is the only UNESCO Learning City in the UK and one of only 12 in the world. This means Swansea collaborates with other Learning Cities across the planet to learn from examples of best practice elsewhere, boost learning opportunities and tackle poverty. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Other Learning Cities worldwide include Beijing, Cork, Cape Town, Mexico City and Sao Paolo. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In Swansea, the focus has been on encouraging entrepreneurial learning among all citizens, from pre-school to old age. Swansea Council leads on the initiative, with strong support from Swansea University and other partners. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Jen Raynor, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “As a senior specialist in overseas education research for the Japanese government, we were delighted to welcome Mr Shinohara to Swansea. This shows that our close partnership work on the UNESCO Learning City initiative alongside organisations like Swansea University is making waves not just across the UK, but in other parts of the world as well. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The development of a learning and entrepreneurial culture is at the heart of our plans to transform the Swansea Bay City Region economy. This is why we’re placing so much emphasis on learning to be enterprising and innovative from a young age because these skills will be critically important in the Swansea of the future. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Engaging children and the wider community in education and the power of learning will also help us tackle poverty here in Swansea. As a council, this is one of our key priorities.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Mr Shinohara, who studied British history at the University of Wales, Lampeter, in the early 1990s, said: “I was very happy when my government asked me to visit Swansea during my trip to the UK because I have many happy memories from Wales. This is only the second time I have returned in about 25 years. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“My government is interested is the Learning Cities initiative, so this was a great opportunity to find out more. I’ll also be going to South Korea next month to visit a Learning City there and will be reporting back to the Japanese Ministry of Education with information.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Some of the Learning Cities work in Swansea includes the mini-dragons and young business dragons, which develops entrepreneurial thinking in local schoolchildren through competitions to encourage business ideas.
Swansea University’s Bay Campus was also cited in a recent UNESCO report as an example of entrepreneurial leadership. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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