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July 15, 2004

Japan's English Lagging Behind E. Asian Neighbors

A survey released this week shows that Japanese high school and university students lag far behind their East-asian counterparts. Conducted by a group of Japanese researchers on commission from the Cabinet Office between October last year and February, the survey included students at two to four top high schools and universities in Japan, China, South Korea and Singapore. A report in yesterday's Daily Yomiuri focused mainly on the great advances made by Chinese students in science subjects, but also had this to say about the English results:

"The team said the Japanese students polled showed the poorest performance when it came to English. The Chinese students were found to be especially good at English reading comprehension, while the South Korean students were superior to the others in English listening comprehension. The average marks for the Japanese first-year high school students surveyed were the lowest in all sections of English proficiency, including vocabulary and grammar. The team noted that so-called advanced placement tests designed to help high school students increase their English skills have produced good results in China and Singapore. Japan should employ such tests to help boost English proficiency, the research team said."
Study: Chinese beat Japanese pupils in science

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