Most schools starting English – Jun. 30, 2009

The Yomiuri Shimbun

With the transition period toward the 2011 implementation of revised teaching guidelines having started in April, nearly all of the nation’s public schools have begun or will begin offering English lessons during the current school year, according to a recent survey conducted by the Education, Science and Technology Ministry.

The revised teaching guidelines will make English compulsory for fifth- and sixth-graders. During this two-year transition period, schools can introduce part of the revised guidelines in advance.

The ministry asked 21,442 public primary schools nationwide about their plans as of April 1 regarding English lessons during the 2009 school year.

The survey found that 97.8 percent of them–or 20,978 schools–planned to hold English lessons for the two grades during the current school year. Of them, about 58 percent are to have 35 lessons or more. (One lesson lasts 45 minutes.)

Having 35 lessons a year, which means about one lesson a week, is the frequency stipulated in the revised guidelines.

Meanwhile, just 93 schools planed to hold English lessons for fifth-graders only, and another 97 planed to hold lessons for sixth-graders only. More than 270 schools said they had no plans regarding English lessons. However, some of these schools have such small student bodies that there are no students in the target grades.

(Daily Yomiuri Jun. 30, 2009)

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