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January 27, 2005

Parents Pin Hopes on Immersion Programs

The Daily Yomiuri yesterday started a new series called Educational Renaissance that will examine cases of parents seeking alternatives to the conventional education system. The first installment looked at a couple of families who have decided to go to great lengths to enroll their children in newly established foreign language immersion programs. One is the Gunma Kokusai Academy in the city of Ota, which received quite a bit of publicity as the flagship project in one of the first government-approved deregulatory zones. From April, the school will offer a combined primary, middle and senior school in a seamless 12-year curriculum and will teach all classes except Japanese, social studies and first- and second-grade ethics classes in English. Another story was of a family set to move from Tokyo to Fukuoka so that their child can attend the Linden Hall Elementary School, which opened in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture last year. The article also mentions research from last year that showed 14.7% of children surveyed, aged from 3 to 6, go to an English-language learning center, a three-fold increase over five years ago.
Parents more keen on kids' language learning

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