the Kutchan IB school project



Are you concerned about your children’s high school education? Have you ever worried about sending them away from the Kutchan/Niseko area? Or possibly moving the whole family? How about the cost and loneliness?
Schools are the heart of the community. And yet, the percentage of local students continuing on to Kutchan High School is only 45%, with the majority of junior high schoolers traveling to Sapporo, Otaru, and Yoichi. Combined with a declining population in surrounding areas, the number of classes in Kutchan High School is at risk of being reduced.

The Niseko region has developed into an international resort, becoming the home for residents from various countries and backgrounds. With both English and Japanese as primary languages, Niseko is a unique community within Japan. 
To cater to these international needs and provide local children with a higher level, global education, we are aiming to introduce the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum to Kutchan’s local high school.

Exploratory Committee

古谷 真司
Ross Findlay
作井 繁樹
Chris Pickering
Keith Rodgers


• Graduates would receive both a standard Japanese high school diploma, and an IB diploma.  Meaning students can apply to any Japanese university.
• The IB Program is well regarded by many of Japan’s top universities
• Kutchan High School would be one of only two IB schools in Hokkaido. Graduates could feel proud of their school.
• Internationally recognized high school diploma, giving easier access to overseas universities.
• Rigorous and challenging curriculum is elite level, preparing students for top Japanese and international universities
• Financially accessible to all - the goal is standard public high school fees
• Program encourages students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers.
• Courses are taught in Japanese, but with a stronger emphasis on English than standard Japanese high school.
• Stronger English abilities mean more opportunities to get good jobs in Niseko.  

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation, motivated by its mission, focused on the student. The programmes for students help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.

Founded in 1968, the IB currently works with 3,804 schools in 147 countries to develop and offer four challenging programmes to over 1,189,000 students aged 3 to 19 years.

The IB continuum of international education is unique because of its academic and personal rigour, challenging students to excel in their studies and in their personal growth.

The IB Middle Years Programme, for students aged 11 to 16, provides a framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world, and become critical and reflective thinkers.

The IB Diploma Programme, for students aged 16 to 19, is an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students for success at university and beyond.

The IB Career-related Certificate, for students aged 16 to 19, is the newest offering from the IB. The IBCC incorporates the vision and educational principles of the IB Programmes into a unique offering specifically designed for students who wish to engage in career-related learning.

Aims: The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

Link to IB website: http://www.ibo.org (opens in new window)

Link to IB introductory video: click here (opens in new window)


Before launching into a difficult process to achieve the IB school, the local educators need to initially assess if there is support for the idea amongst parents and students. Forecasting the number of students per class is critical, and a survey has been created with this in mind. If you live in the area please participate in the survey, and also share it with your friends.