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November 06, 2003

Kawamura Outlines Plan

The minister for Education, Science and Technology Takeo Kawamura told the Daily Yomiuri in a recent interview that implementing English-language education for primary school students is "a must if we want to help cultivate Japanese who have a practical command of the language. The sooner, the better -- although we first have to deal with the issue of how to train instructors." The ministry has a five-year plan that aims to help Japanese acquire a "practical command of English." One of the keys to the plan's success is the ongoing training of Japan's 60,000 Japanese teachers of English. He also said that native English-speaking ALTs should be given more autonomy and even allowed to teach classes on their own. The maximum period they are allowed to work is to be extended from three years to five. Kawamura added that a measure to allow them to develop full-time careers as instructors should be implemented as a "matter of course."
Daily Yomiuri article

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