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August 22, 2002

State Funding for Foreign Study

The government is to begin a program next fiscal year that will send 1,000 high school students and 100 teachers to study English abroad. It is the first time for the state to fund such studies by civilians abroad. Students who participate in an exchange program in an English-speaking country for at least three months will receive 400,000 yen. Teachers who take a leave of absence to study at a foreign graduate school for at least a year will have half their tuition paid. The two to three million yen annual cost of such tuition has been a major hurdle for many teachers. The program is related to the education ministry's 2-billion-yen English education reform plan that also includes re-training of the nation's 60,000 English teachers, increasing the number of Super English Language High Schools from 18 to 100 in fiscal 2004, and holding speech contests at schools in 100 designated cities nationwide.

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