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March 2017

Japan to have its 15 minutes of English

John Gillespie School children of Nara JAPAN STORY

Japan’s Education Ministry has published its latest draft guidelines on public education, to come into effect from 2020 after a ‘transition’ from 2018. Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reports that the principal aim of the guidelines, released in February, is ‘to reinforce the teaching of English’.

One of the more eyebrow-raising proposals in the draft proposal is to divide primary school lessons into fifteen-minute ‘chunks’, with one of those chunks devoted to English, instead of the current weekly English lesson of just 45 minutes.

The age at which primary school students first become exposed to ‘foreign language-based activities’ (English through games and songs) will drop from the current fifth grade (aged 10–11) to third grade (aged 8–9). English in the upper years of primary will become a full-on subject, including learning English grammar.

Pic courtesy: John Gillespie

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