Tokyo, May 16, 2017 – Rakuten, Inc. today announced the start of this year’s “Rakuten IT School,” a program offering practical business classes in e-commerce for high school students in Japan.
Rakuten IT School works in cooperation with businesses registered on Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuten Travel to provide high school students with practical business lessons in e-commerce*1. Rakuten IT School was launched in 2008 as a corporate sustainability initiative that aims to foster the next generation of local entrepreneurs, with 2017 marking the program’s 10th year. Rakuten organizes the extensive program, from establishing the curriculum and creating teaching materials, to the provision of teaching staff and coordination of the lessons.
This year, 55 high schools from around Japan will participate in the program alongside 24 companies registered on Rakuten Ichiba and 30 companies registered on Rakuten Travel. Teachers for the program will be provided by the Rakuten businesses and the 54 local companies. Students will learn the practical skills of online business, taking advantage of direct interaction with employees of successful companies that include winners of Rakuten Ichiba’s “Shop of the Year” awards and “Rakuten Travel Awards.” This year, the curriculum also introduces a focus on mobile e-commerce, offering students a window on the changing world of e-commerce and the rapid rise in use of smartphones and other mobile devices.
Classes will take place eight times over the period until February 2018. The second half of the curriculum will give students the opportunity to plan and create real product pages for the participating businesses, launching the pages to the public to sell products and accommodation plans. In January 2018, the Rakuten IT School National Championship*2 will be held in Tokyo, at which representative teams from each school will gather to present their learnings.
In line with its mission to empower individuals and society through innovation and entrepreneurship, Rakuten continues to supports regional Japanese businesses. The Rakuten IT School is a key Rakuten initiative that aims to contribute to the revitalization and development of regional economies and communities by sharing the potential of online business with the next generation.
*1 E-commerce has been included as an optional course in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s curriculum guidelines for commercial high schools since 2013, focusing on giving students opportunities to experience a real business environment while developing and selling products.
*2 About Rakuten IT School National Championship:
One elected team from each high school will present their learnings in front of representatives of the participating businesses registered to Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuten Travel. Industry professionals will evaluate the presentations and select the top three schools. In the 2016 National Championship, held in January 2017, 63 high schools participated in the preliminary rounds.