Tales Out Of School: Strange Stories From The Global Classroom

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Japanese job lab

A school in Japan is in booming demand among students who want to learn how to get a job.

Amid a climate of rising unemployment, candidates need more than mere qualifications, which is why Masaru Komazaki's "Walking Laboratory" has decided to teach female students to move gracefully, use big words, and look pretty to give them that vital edge in interviews.

Help on offer includes the chance to improve their deportment, increase their literacy or even have cosmetic surgery.

Mr Komazaki says he wanted to teach women to look good when he set up his school three years ago. Since then, demand from women in search of tips on how to look professional for job interviews has expanded his business to four Tokyo locations.

"I didn't really open the school because I thought that it would help women with their jobs. I just wanted them to be beautiful," Komazaki admitted. "But now I see that my school has two purposes - to make women attractive, and to help them with problems like finding jobs.

"I teach pupils how to walk wearing a skirt, how to carry a shoulder bag, how to sit on a chair, and all the other things that must be done properly when you are being interviewed."

Robin Hood captured:

South Korean police have arrested a fugitive who evaded capture seven times and gave thousands of dollars from his robberies to poor and handicapped students to support them through their studies.

Shin Chang-Won, 30, had been on the run for two and a half years, during which his generosity made him a hero to the country's working-class students, who called him "friend of the poor".

Shin slipped repeatedly through police dragnets, and dozens of officers were dismissed for failing to trap him, which drove authorities to offer a reward of around pounds 26,000 for his capture.

A tip-off finally led police to the apartment where Shin had been living since January. State television said police would take Shin to the detention centre from which he originally escaped.

Class of 1917:

Pennsylvanian Effie Schaffer never received the high-school diploma she earned 82 years ago. Now aged 100, she had long pined for the piece of paper from the Abington High School's Class of 1917.

She missed out on receiving it when she left school early to help her cash-strapped family. A worker at the nursing home where she now lives called the school about the diploma, and officials discovered that she had indeed earned enough credits to graduate.

So the principal, Robert Burt, came to the home, bent down on one knee, and handed Schaffer her belated diploma.

"We're sorry it took this many years to get this to you," he said. "You're our latest graduate from Abington." He then placed a white graduation cap on her head and kissed her cheek.

Nick Fearn