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November 15, 2004

Ota Aims For 20-student Classes

The city of Ota in Gunma prefecture plans to have an average junior high school English class size of 20 students from next April. The city, one of the first zones to be granted special deregulatory status by the government, plans to use citizens with teaching experience or municipal workers with teaching licences to reduce the teacher-pupil ratio at all public elementary and middle schools. It is hoped that academic levels will rise and truancy will fall as a result. The change will affect Japanese and math classes in the first six grades and also English from the 7th grade. The city estimates a cost of about ¥200 million for the plan, which will add 98 teachers to the payroll. The plan coincides with the merger of the city with several others in March, which will also facilitate reorganizing teacher distribution.

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