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October 21, 2002

Some Regions to Abolish School Districts

Five regional authorities are to abolish the school district system, which prohibits students from applying to high schools outside their own or neighboring districts. Tokyo and Wakayama Prefecture are to introduce the changes in the next academic year, Fukui Prefecture the following year, and Mie and Gunma Prefectures in the future. Until the law was abolished in the Diet last year, regional education boards had to create school districts in order to manage so-called "exam hell" and the number of students who continue to third-level education. After the law was dropped, changes announced by local governments around the country take two main forms: abolishing or expanding districts, and accepting more students from outside. The changes will allow more freedom of choice to students but increase competition between high schools.

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