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Ginowan elementary students now studying English in class

Date Posted: 2004-04-22

A bold move by Ginowan public schools is putting English words in the mouths of elementary school children.

Traditionally, Japanese schools have taught English from 13-year-old junior high school students up, but Ginowan officials say they recognized that it’s too late to start studying English at age 13.

The Ministry of Education has changed the system, and now allows schools to begin offering English classes to elementary school students.

Ginowan jumped in, and authorized hiring American teachers from the United States to teach at Futenma Elementary School and Shimashi Elementary School.

“Every student is so happy to learn English,” said one official. “Actually, there are private English schools outside of the schools in Okinawa, and parents are paying private schools too much money. For example, one of the private English school’s tuition fee is Y100,000 for three months, payable in advance.

“For that reason, parents are so happy to not pay such expensive tuitions.”

One student says “I love to hear the English words. I wanted to learn English and now I’m happy to get English lessons.” Another said “I would like to become a great major league baseball player so I can play in America. I have that dream now.”

And one school principal added, “I want every child to learn English and become friend with people of the world.”

Ginowan officials say that within two years, every one of its elementary schools will have English teachers on site.

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