Tokyo, September 11, 2013 – Rakuten, Inc. today announced that the kobo Touch eReader will be newly introduced and used from the second semester of this school year at 24 high schools. As a result, the number of schools using kobo Touch will expand from two schools in two cities in two prefectures that began using it in the first semester of the school year, to 26 schools in 25 municipalities in 14 prefectures nationwide, pushing the total number of student users to 4,215.
Recent years have seen a trend of student reading activities being promoted at many educational institutions. Promotion of reading activities at elementary and junior high schools was incorporated in the 2008 and 2009 “Courses of Study” by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT). In MEXT’s 2009 Second Basic Plan Concerning the Promotion of Reading Activities by Children, the introduction of “morning reading” (reading time established before the start of class) at elementary, junior, and high schools, as well as the placement of school librarians were promoted. In addition, the Third Basic Plan Concerning the Promotion of Reading Activities by Children, which was adopted by Cabinet decision in May of this year, includes halving the percentage of “non-readers” (those who read less than one book per month), and expanding the reading environment using new IT through the proliferation of e-books.
Against this backdrop, Rakuten decided to expand the introduction of kobo Touch to schools all over Japan as part of its CSR activities. The 24 newly added schools are mainly schools that are implementing Rakuten’s e-commerce course “Rakuten IT School” in the 2013 school year. Introducing e-readers that are specialized for reading is expected to increase the convenience of reading activities, and result in students reading more books and spending more time reading. Rakuten looks to work together with the educational institutions, boards of education, and municipalities where kobo Touch has been introduced, and share usage methods at the schools as well as the benefits of e-reader introduction to further promote reading.
Under it’s “New Future” concept, Rakuten, through its main businesses, is implementing CSR activities for the children who will be the leaders of the next generation. In addition to Rakuten IT School, which started conveying the possibilities of the Internet in 2008, it also provides the Rakuten Mobile Library, which has been lending books and kobo Touch eReaders to children in Fukushima Prefecture since 2012. Rakuten will continue to work with educational institutions to develop a variety of educational assistance.