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Globally Connected: Locally Sustainable

(page 12 of 15)

Connecting to the Future

The Education Gateway

Education is simply the soul of society as it passes from one generation to another,” said writer G.K. Chesterton. This rather poetic definition captures the essence of education’s high purpose, because if, as we say, the young are our future, then education is their gateway to the future.

Photo: Renderings of planned UH West Oahu facilities
(above and top right) and the new UH West Oahu campus
under construction (bottom right).

Today, the Hawaii Department of Education Leeward District, which includes Kapolei, has the largest student population of all school districts in the state – nearly 39,000. They are served by 47 public schools, including elementary, middle and high schools, and several private schools.

With the University of Hawaii-West O‘ahu Kapolei campus set to open in a year, the region will fulfill the goal of developing a seamless continuum of learning for its young people, from pre-schools and up through the various academic levels to a four-year university. 


The first phase of UH West Oahu’s $100 million campus in Kapolei is under construction and on track to open in September 2012 with 2,000 students. The university is quite clear in its mission — preparing students for “professional, career-related and applied fields” that are in line with the socio-economic needs of the region and the state. The university will use traditional and alternative delivery systems such as distance learning and flexible schedules to serve its target population of graduating high school seniors and non-traditional students.

UH West Oahu will also stress cross-cultural and international studies — a goal that will be concretely realized when Japan’s Tokai University builds a new campus for its Hawaii Tokai International College at the Kapolei campus. The two institutions will share programs, dorms and classroom space. “The partnership will promote Kapolei as a destination for international students,” said UH West Oahu’s chancellor, Gene Awakuni. “Under this arrangement, Hawaii students will also be able to participate in Tokai’s programs in Japan, Korea and China. There’s no better way to promote globalization and build international understanding.” 


Island Pacific Academy (IPA) is Kapolei’s first private, non-profit college preparatory school, from junior kindergarten through high school. Located in the heart of the city’s urban core, IPA prides itself on delivering an excellent education rooted in its core values of “kindness, generosity of spirit and the importance of curiosity and creativity.”

IPA, which opened in 2004 with 200 students, now has an enrollment of about 650 students, and graduated its first class of 45 seniors in 2010. The school is fully accredited by the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and is moving towards becoming an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, a designation shared by more than 3,000 schools in 141 countries.


The opening of Cole Academy’s fifth campus this fall couldn’t come fast enough for Kapolei’s young families. The family-owned preschool and childcare center offers early childhood education and care for children ages 6 weeks through five years. Its academic and social curriculum is aimed at kindergarten readiness, and includes early reading, math, science, music, foreign language, and infant-toddler sign language. The Academy is centrally located next to the Kapolei Regional Library, and will accommodate about 240 children.

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