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July 08, 2002

Local Authorities Hiring ALTs

According to a recent survey by the education ministry, 25% of local governments have hired assistant language teachers (ALTs) to teach English, about a third of whom teach at elementary schools. As of last autumn, 13 prefectures, seven major cities and 710 cities, towns and villages had taken the initiative and hired a total of 2,784 ALTs. The local authorities' action is believed to be the result of the fact that most ALTs on the JET program are sent to junior or senior high schools, where there is still a shortage. But with English being a popular subject in the recently introduced "comprehensive studying time", the education ministry has stepped in for the first time and hired 20 ALTs with Japanese language ability to work at elementary schools. Meanwhile the number of ALTs to be hired this year on the JET program is up 93 from last year to 5,676.

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