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February 21, 2005

Latest From the English Reform Zones

The latest installments in the Daily Yomiuri series "In Pursuit of English" looked at some of the special zones chosen by the government for structural reform and deregulation. For example, Yokokura Primary School in the small city of Kakuda, Miyagi Prefecture, where English is taught once a week. The city has many employees of a Honda affiliate who have worked overseas, and has established a sister-city relationship with Greenfield, Indiana. A group of students travel to the US each year. The article also briefly mentioned some of the other regions where similar English programs are underway.
Special zones prove more than just a fad
The 13th installment continued the theme, focusing on two schools: Narita Primary School in Narita, Chiba Prefecture has had English in its curriculum longer than most, having been designated by the education ministry as a pilot school in 1996. Students in most grades study English for 20 minutes every day and the school administers an interview test given by a native English-speaking ALT; The town of Tomiaimachi in Kumamoto Prefecture starts students on middle school English textbooks while they are still in the fifth or sixth grade. From fifth grade, they have teachers who specialize in teaching English, a maximum of 20 students per class, and have a total of 52 hours of English a year.
Narita primary school models fun English program

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