22nd April 2008 – Hitachi Europe Ltd. today announced that the 14th annual teacher exchange programme, HISTEP, organised by the company will take place from 30th April – 4th May 2008. HISTEP is a teacher exchange programme organised by Hitachi to promote communication and cultural understanding among North American, European and Japanese nations by means of a cross-cultural secondary school teachers' exchange and educational programme.

Hitachi Europe Ltd. has been headquartered in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for over 17 years and has actively promoted the HISTEP programme to local schools with the help of the Education Department of the Borough. To date teachers from Furze Platt Senior School, Charters Comprehensive School, Windsor Girls School, Cox Green, Windsor Boys School, Ryeish Green School, Holyport Manor School and Churchmead School have all had the opportunity to participate. Through this programme a teacher from Windsor Boys School will visit Japan in 2008.

As part of the HISTEP European tour, from 30th April – 4th May, three teachers from Japan will visit Windsor Boys School and Altwood School in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. The teachers, Mr Satoshi Manita from Shibuya Junior and Senior High School, Ms Akiko Fukasawa from Hitachikita Senior High School and Ms Mizuho Osawa from Takahagi Seisho High School, will be meeting with staff, touring the schools, teaching and observing lessons. On the evening of the 1st May, Hitachi will host a dinner inviting all the past teachers from the Royal Borough who have participated in the HISTEP programme to meet the three teachers visiting from Japan to exchange experiences and ideas.

Anthony Bainbridge, a teacher from Windsor Boys School in Windsor, will be travelling to Japan with three other teachers from Europe to spend two weeks learning about Japanese education and culture from 22nd June to 5th July, 2008. He will visit various schools and tourist sites, as well spending time staying with a Japanese host family.

In 1987, Hitachi began inviting teachers to Japan as part of its community activities in North America. The programme developed into HISTEP in 1994, when Hitachi invited both North American and European teachers to Japan. To date, 145 teachers from North America and Europe have been to Japan under the auspices of this program. In addition, Hitachi began sending Japanese teachers to North America in 1989. So far, 79 Japanese teachers have visited North America, and a Europe-Japan teacher exchange program was initiated in 1997.