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December 14, 2005

Early English Education Booming

The Asahi.com website ran a feature on the continuing boom in early English education in Japan. The article looked at the case of one "charisma mama" and her 3rd-grade child. The woman, Yukari Morifuji (30) from Ehime Prefecture, introduced her child to English, using picture books, CDs and videos, at the age of seven months. The child, now 9 years old, watches American TV shows, reads novels in English and has even started writing original stories. Morifuji started a website five years ago that records her child's progress with English, and the site has received over 3 million visits. Morifuji also stresses the importance of not neglecting the child's Japanese language skills.

The article also looked at ALC Press's magazine "Yochi Yochi Eigo" for parents of children aged up to three. In a survey of readers, when asked to what extent they wanted their children to acquire English ability, 70% said "Enough to be able to communicate easily with foreigners" while 20% said, "Enough to be able to work anywhere in the world." And according to another survey by Benesse Educational Research & Development Center, the number of pre-school children attending English conversation schools in the metropolitan area has increased to 14.2% from 5% in 2000.
Article in Japanese
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