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March 30, 2009

Elementary schools in some areas of Japan will have many more English lessons than in other areas

ABC.jpegEnglish will become compulsory in the fifth and sixth grade at elementary schools in 2011, and schools in many areas of Japan have already introduced English courses. However, in some areas of Japan the amount of resources being allocated to these programs is much greater than in other areas.

Tokyo's Minato Ward plans to have English lessons for fifth and sixth graders as often as twice a week from April and will spend an average of 5,860,000 yen per school on English lessons. Osaka only plans to have nine English classes a year at each school and will spend an average of only 120,000 yen per school.

According to a survey reported in the Daily Yomiuri, 'about 40% of Tokyo's wards... plan to conduct English lessons at least once a week at primary schools for fifth- and sixth-graders from April.' There are sixteen municipalities around Japan that are planning to introduce similar programs including Kyoto, Saitama, Chiba, and Kitakyushu. However, schools in Sapporo will only have ten lessons a year, and in Shizuoka and Hamamatsu they will only have twelve.

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