As part of our effort to address the social issue of "children's educational gap" in Japan, in September 2018, we launched our "KANDO Experience" Program aimed at developing creativity and curiosity among children.
Today, there is a widening of the educational gap in Japan due to various social factors. These include poverty, as well as differences in their home and school environments, and district of residence. There are gaps not only in learning basic academic skills but also in hands-on experiences that help to develop creativity and curiosity.
In this program, we will be providing diverse KANDO experiences to children who have had few such opportunities, by using our assets in the Sony Group, such as products, contents and technology and throughout partnership with non-profit organizations and other outside groups. The "KANDO Experience" Program includes science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM*1 elements) utilizing our latest technology and content.
"KANDO Experience" Program is offered to children in places where the educational gap is most seen.
In the lower grades of elementary school, children spend an annual average of about 1,600*2 hours outside of school, such as after school or on vacation, which is longer than school hours. Hours spent outside of school is said to produce a gap in experience and opportunities which will have a great influence on children's growth.
Sony is in partnership with NPO Afterschool which operates after school programs for children and provide "KANDO Experience" Programs. This program includes an experience programming with IoT Programming block MESH™, a workshop to experience different cultures in Virtual Reality (VR) by Warp Square*3, a seminar on animation production and an experience in children's musical using the know-how of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan).
There is a tendency that children who resides in rural districts or remote islands, away from the city, have less opportunities to experience workshops in STEAM elements and interact with diverse role models who may impact their future career options.
Sony is in partnership with Professionals for All Schools which provide elementary school children in these areas, an experience programming with IoT Programming block MESH. The workshop is connected online to engineers at Sony Headquarters in Tokyo to see the presentation from the children and to advise them with ideas.
Child poverty is becoming an ever more serious issue in Japan, and it is said that one in seven children*4 live in financially difficult situations.
Sony is working closely with "Kodomo-Shokudo" (a safe place for children to visit and welcomes them with warm meals) and outside organizations to support children in these circumstances and offer various programs such as experience programming with IoT Programming block MESH and the opportunity to use "Smile Fight"*5 which uses Sony's facial recognition technology.