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Japan-Update

Japanese robotics classes for kids headed to China, India

Human Holdings is taking its robotics classes to China and India.

TOKYO -- Human Holdings is starting to offer robotics courses for children elsewhere in Asia as part of an effort to achieve growth overseas, where interest in robotics is on the rise.

The Tokyo-based company aims to attract 100,000 students in China by 2020. The country is beginning to cultivate such robot-related industries as programming and artificial intelligence as a national strategy.

Education subsidiary Human Academy will oversee robotics classes in Asia like those it runs in Japan. Students will cultivate spatial perception and inventiveness while developing scientific knowledge by assembling robots from parts, gears and motors. Programming will be incorporated.

In China, special robotics classes will be held during free time at private cram schools. Materials and educational know-how will also be provided through franchise chains to companies interested in launching new robotics courses. A class was recently established in Nantong, Jiangsu Province.

The plan is to open classes in India and the United Arab Emirates starting next year. These countries have few private cram schools, so the company will partner with universities to get students interested in education to use its curriculum as research materials at elementary schools and offer robotics courses.

Human Academy started opening robotics classes in Japan back in 2009. It now runs around 900 throughout the country, with some 12,500 students, most ranging from 5-year-olds through sixth graders. The curriculum covers everything from such basic courses as simple robot assembly through courses where students learn programming. The classes cost 160,000 yen to 250,000 yen ($1,440 to $2,250) a year.

The plan is to offer the classes in China and elsewhere for around the same price as in Japan. In the Chinese market, local companies and such South Korean players as Roborobo are putting effort into developing robotics courses. While Human Academy's offerings will be expensive by comparison, the Japanese company aims to use quality as a selling point.

(Nikkei)

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