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Push for pre-school English in Japan

Although English is taught in Japanese schools, few learn the language sufficiently to hold even a simple conversation. The solution, according to Akira Murata, who runs a pre-school in Yokohama through his company Kitami Gakuen, is to get children learning as early as possible.

“We cannot adapt to a global society if Japanese is the only tool we have to communicate our thoughts,” he said to Nikkei Asia. “Learning English opens up new choices and possibilities for our children.”

Taro Kono, Japan’s minister for administrative reform, has published a book in which he argues for teaching English more effectively, and as reported in Nikkei Asia, has said: “English education at nurseries or kindergarten can often be a piecemeal experience, like having a foreign instructor come in every once in a while. That’s not enough. It’s critical to have a foreign instructor there full time so children are exposed to English on a daily basis.”

Private pre-schools which offer English are by definition only available to wealthier families, whereas Murata would like to see it available to all, stating, “There is almost no support from national and municipal governments on teaching English before elementary school. “This is a problem, since the earlier you start learning foreign languages, the better.

“I hope there is a national-government-level push to promote this field instead of relying on early childhood educators,” Murata said.

Image courtesy of Michelle Raponi from Pixabay
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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