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July 14, 2002

Ministry's Vision for the Future of English Education

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has announced a plan to educate "Japanese who can use English." The plans sets out a multitude of concrete measures to improve English education. These include: increasing opportunities to mix with foreigners, including establishing conversation "salons" at schools and grants for students to study abroad; incorporating listening tests in university entrance exams; establishing 100 "Super English Language High Schools" over the next three years; improving teaching standards by creating research posts in Japan and abroad, and setting minimum test score requirements for teachers of Eiken level 1, TOEIC 730 or TOEFL 550; setting a target of 11,500 ALT positions on the JET Program; creating full-time teacher posts for 300 non-Japanese over the next three years, with a future target of 1,000; and incorporating English into the elementary school curriculum within the umbrella of "general studies."

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