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April 27, 2010

Schools switching to a semester system and having shorter vacations

sijapan03.pngThe number of public elementary and junior high schools that have two semesters per year instead of the traditional trimester system has doubled in five years. In 2004, 9.4% of public elementary schools and 10.4& of public junior high schools had two semesters per year. In 2009, 21.8% of elementary schools and 23% of junior high schools were using this system.

The Yomiuri Shimbun commented: 'Using semesters means one less opening ceremony and one less closing ceremony than in the conventional trimester system, which translates into an extra 10 to 15 class hours. Teachers also have more time to spend with their students, since they need to prepare report cards only twice instead of three times.'

According to the Ministry of Education, an increasing number of public primary and middle schools have also cut the length of their summer and other recesses. The ministry said 2,257 public elementary schools (10.5 percent) and 883 public junior high schools (8.9 percent) have shorter vacations than before.

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