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September 30, 2005

Raising English-speaking "Toyohashi-ko"

The city of Toyohashi is the latest to apply for government approval to introduce English education to its public elementary schools, according to the Tonichi Shimbun. The city applied yesterday for special deregulation zone status, which Tokyo has been promoting over the last few years in an effort to give more powers to regional authorities. So far, 43 municipalities have received approval for English langauge-related zones. Toyohashi's application calls for the introduction of its own original curriculum, "Eikaiwa ga Dekiru Toyohashi-ko" (English-speaking Toyohashi Kids); increasing junior high school English classes from three to four a week in 2006; introducing English for all elementary school students in 2007 (currently students between 3rd and 6th grades have just 3 hours of English a year); and hiring more foreign ALTs to teach 5th and 6th graders. Non-Japanese make up about 5% of the population of Toyohashi, much higher than the national average.
Article in Japanese
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