Opening of a Combined Primary and Secondary School Named “NITOBÉ Inazō” in Djibouti, Following FUKUZAWA Middle Secondary School: A new model school improving the rate of continued enrollment


On January 31, the opening ceremony of “NITOBÉ Inazō Fundamental School,” built under Japanese grant aid from “The Project for the Construction of Primary and Secondary School in Nassib in Balbala Quarter”—signed in 2020—was held in Djibouti City, capital of the Republic of Djibouti. In attendance from the Djibouti side were H.E. Mr. Ismael Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic, and H.E. Mr. Moustapha Mohamed Mahamoud, Minister of Education and Vocational Training, and from the Japan side, H.E. Mr. Hara Keiichi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Djibouti, and Mr. Kaneda Masayuki, Chief Representative of JICA Djibouti Office, celebrating the school’s completed construction as well as its opening.

President Guelleh (front right) and Ambassador Hara (middle), shaking hands in front of the plaque

Japan began its economic cooperation with Djibouti in 1982, with FUKUZAWA Middle Secondary School—built under Japanese grant aid in 1995 in Djibouti City—as an example of said cooperation. The school was named after famous Japanese educator Fukuzawa Yukichi, as requested by the then minister of education. The new school—NITOBÉ Inazō Fundamental School—in Nassib also takes its name from a prominent Japanese educator, Nitobé Inazō, who introduced Japanese morality to the world, and its opening represents the birth of a new symbol of the friendship between Djibouti and Japan. The cooperative relationship between the two countries in regard to the development of Djibouti's education sector is already long standing, and it is hoped that the school will become a model school in Djibouti and that the friendship between the two countries will last for many years.

A "fundamental school" combines a primary and a secondary school together. This style is considered effective for improving both access to and quality of education by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training in Djibouti. NITOBÉ Inazō Fundamental School is expected to be a model of this type of school.

Balbala Quarter, where the school is located, is a suburb that adjoins the south of the old town of Djibouti City. It has been designated as a new urbanization center by the National Urban Development Strategy (Stratégie Nationale de Développement Urban: SNDU), established in 2012 to improve the situation of the densely populated and saturated old town. Nassib, located in the southern part of Balbala, is one of the quarter’s most rapidly developing areas, with its population growing from 1,800 in 2017 to 6,500 in 2019, and expected to grow further to 19,800 in 2025. NITOBÉ Inazō Fundamental School is planned to accommodate 2,640 students, and will provide nine years of consistent compulsory education to the growing number of children in the area. It is intended to serve as a model school with enhanced educational technology and a learning environment that will provide continuity of instruction from the primary to secondary-school level.

President Guelleh, Ambassador Hara and children

At the ceremony, President Guelleh and Ambassador Hara unveiled the monument of NITOBÉ Inazō Fundamental School and celebrated its opening with students and local residents. President Guelleh expressed his strong desire for the promotion of social infrastructure development in Nassib, and said that it is very delightful to finally have the new school opened.
Ambassador Hara, who was representing the Japanese government, expressed his hope that the children of this school, following the example of Dr. Nitobé, an educator and the Deputy Secretary General of the League of Nations, will become bridges between Djibouti, Japan, and the rest of the world. He also stated the importance of the cooperation of families and the local community in achieving quality education.

It is hoped that this newly established fundamental school will serve as a base of exchange between Japan and Djibouti, and that friendly relations between the two countries will continue to develop.

Children celebrating the opening of the school

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