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March 31, 2004

English Teachers Found Lacking

An education ministry survey has found the vast majority of public school English teachers to be lacking in language ability. A ministry plan laid out last year called for almost all English teachers to have passed the pre-first level of the Practical English Proficiency Test (known as STEP, or "eiken" in Japanese), but the survey shows that about 90% of junior high and 80% of senior high teachers have failed to do so. The numbers for teachers who have scored the expected 550 or higher on the TOEFL or 730 on the TOEIC are even worse. The survey of 22,000 middle school teachers and 21,000 high school teachers was carried out by 45 regional boards of education and the results released at a ministry-sponsored forum last weekend.

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