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December 12, 2003

New Tokyo University to Team Up With Language Schools

In an unprecedented move, a new university planned by the Tokyo metropolitan government is to commission private language schools to handle its foreign language courses. Students will have to attain a certain level of language skill in order to graduate, but will be able to earn the necessary credits at schools off campus. There will be exemptions for students already proficient in a foreign language, such as those who have lived or studied abroad. The plan reflects one university official's thinking, that experts in foreign literature or linguistics "are not necessarily skillful in teaching foreign languages."

An education ministry spokesman said, "It's no problem to invite outside instructors to the campus. However, if the university leaves the foreign language curriculum and grading of students to the discretion of an outside school, they can't be recognized as university classes." The new university is set to open in April 2005 and will replace four existing public institutions.

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