IN ITS 25 years of providing quality education and being the leading school in Davao City that seeks to prioritize the strengthening of Filipino-Japanese relationship, the Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai International School (PNJKIS) has evolved as a top of the class education and human values development institution.
Standing tall along Mamay Road, Lanang, Davao City, Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai (PNJK) traces its roots to the home and better prospects that Davao provided to Japanese nationals seeking better opportunities long before World War II broke out, which were cut off when the Philippine government mandated all Japanese to return to their lands after the war ended.
The Japanese of Davao only started to return a decade after, in the 1950s. There were those who traveled back to the city to find their wives and children hoping to bring them to Japan and there were a few who opted to settle back.
Ines Mallari, PNJKIS School Director, said the institution, being a non-stock and non-profit school, started in 1985 as a small Nihongo class, offered every Saturday, solely for the Japanese descendants in the city and was established by an organization composed of Davao-born Japanese descendants.
The Board of Directors of PNJK in 1990, Mallari said, saw the need to transform the class into a regular school as more and more students were joining. Thus, retired Judge Antonina Escovilla and Carmen Apigo helped process the needed documents and got a Department of Education (DepEd) accreditation for the PNJK Educational Center Preschool Department.
Davao-born Japanese Tatsuo Uchida and Shiromi Furukawa and Buddhist priest Reverend Masataka Ajiro donated a 5,000 square meter lot, which is the present location of the school, in 1992. Tokyo Musashino Lions Club and Tatsuo Uchida then donated the first building, which was a one-storey building with three classrooms, a small teachers’ lounge, and one comfort room.
The school opened school year of 1992-1993 under the leadership of its first principal, the late Atenodora Mori. The first year of operation had only two classes, Kinder 1, with barely 10 pupils, and Kinder 2, with only 14 pupils. The first appointed School Administrator was the late Vicente Mori while Rodolfo Abe Tutor was the managing president. Eva Nacario and Ruelyn Cubio-Bobiles were the first teachers hired by the school.
In the coming years, PNJK received financial assistance from some Japanese donors, who applauded the educational services given by the institution to the community.
By 1999, the school became an independent educational institution under the umbrella of PNJK with the name PNJK School of Davao duly registered with Securities and Exchange Commission and DepEd.
Through the funding of donors, the school continued to expand as it began offering secondary education in 2000 and welcomed more elementary enrollees.
In 2001, the school, following the policies set by DepEd, required all teachers to be passers of the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) to ensure that it only provides quality education.
The elementary department earned DepEd’s recognition in June 2003. The high school department earned its recognition in 2005.
It was also in 2005 when the school began accepting foreign students after being granted by the Bureau of Immigration authority and accreditation. Hence, the school’s name was changed to the PNJKIS, an independent educational institution under the Board of Regents of PNJK.
In the succeeding years, PNJKIS grew bigger and better as it received a level two accreditation from the Philippine Association of Accrediting Schools, Colleges, and Universities and has forged sister-school agreements with Sekolah Indonesian School in Davao and SMK Negeri 4 Malang High School in Java, Indonesia.
“We are very happy that our school is now recognized in other areas as many of our students now are residents of far areas such as Tugbok and Tibungco,” Mallari said.
From its small beginnings, PNJKIS for school year 2017-2018 already has a population of 1,500 students, who are being developed into persons with multi-cultural awareness and sensitivity; endeavor to achieve global competitiveness; and manifest love for the Filipino and Japanese ways, cultures and traditions.