English Learning in Japan to Begin Earlier

Feb. 15, 2017

The Mainichi reports:

Japan's education ministry unveiled revised curriculum guidelines on 14 February that call for earlier introduction of English in elementary schools.

The new guidelines for elementary education state that English learning will begin at third grade as part of foreign language activities, rather than fifth grade under the current guidelines.

They also call for English as an individual subject from fifth grade, subsequently increasing the students' weekly classroom hours by one period, or 45 minutes, according to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. 

The guidelines, revised roughly every 10 years, cover elementary and junior high school education and state what must be taught to pupils. The latest version increased the amount of content to be taught by roughly 50 percent.

Computer programming will also become a requisite at elementary schools this round, with the ministry expecting it to be used for arithmetical drawings and for learning the characteristics of electricity, as well as for gathering information for more general studies.

The ministry will formally publish the guidelines next month after soliciting public comments and fully implement them from fiscal 2020. The guidelines for junior high schools will take effect in fiscal 2021 and those for high schools in fiscal 2022.

Source: Mainichi Online, 14 February 2017


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