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October 22, 2003

A Listening Upgrade

The English listening section of university entrance exams may soon get an upgrade, according to yesterday's Daily Yomiuri. The education ministry and the national testing center recently came up with a proposal to give each examinee their own audio player to improve sound quality of the exams, starting from 2006. The proposal was in response to the problem of varying sound quality in the facilities used by universities around the country. It is being considered as one of two possible solutions. The other is to move the exams to high schools, which generally have smaller and better equipped classrooms. But universities have objections to both proposals: they say it would be impractical to collect the disposable players after the test, thus creating huge waste, given the 552,000 people expected to take the test this year; there is the difficulty of dealing with individual technical problems or claims of faulty equipment; it would also increase the burden on examinees - the ¥2,000 cost of the disposable players would be covered by an increase in test fees from the current ¥16,000; and they want to continue carrying out the testing on their own facilities.
Daily Yomiuri article

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