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June 01, 2005

Continuous Education Schools on the Increase

According to the education ministry, there are currently 173 schools nationwide that provide continuous education for the six years of junior and senior high school. The number is an increase of 20 over last year and is up from just 4 schools when the system was introduced in 1999. There are now such schools in 42 prefectures. The schools fit into one of three patterns: those that combine the six years into one continuous curriculum at one school; those where junior high school students don't need to take entrance exams for the high school; and cases where municipal middle schools share resources and faculty with prefectural high schools. One example is the Odate Commercial High School in Akita Prefecture. A new junior high school, Odate Kokusai Jouhou Gakuin, was opened this spring in affiliation with the existing high school. The school emphasizes international communication and has a short study abroad program for junior high students.

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