Editorial on ELTNEWS.com
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Editorial

It's been a tough year for language schools. Companies have been cutting back on English classes, individual students have been questioning whether they can afford to study English, and even parents have been forced to economize on English lessons for their children.

There is also every indication that, despite the increasing importance of English in the world, the trend is for Japanese people to be less interested in the English-speaking world. The trend is for fewer Japanese people to travel to English-speaking countries and for students in Japan to be less interested in studying overseas. An important exception to these rather negative trends is that both Japanese parents and the Japanese government are placing more and more importance on English education for children.

And now we have swine flu. Although the government's reaction to swine flu has been commendable in many ways. Of course, everything possible must be done to protect lives, and it's better to err on the side of caution rather than risk a tragic pandemic. At the same time, the negative effects on the economy could be more than is immediately obvious.

Language schools may be particularly badly hurt. Schools that close will often not be able to receive tuition from students, students and potential students are more likely to decide to study English at home, and the trend towards insularity is likely to increase as more people perceive overseas travel as dangerous.



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