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EDUCATION > English Language

Japan approves 1st English textbooks for primary school kids

  • March 26, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 8:28 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, March 26 (Jiji Press) — The Japanese government said Tuesday that it has approved the first batch of English textbooks to be used at elementary schools in the country, from fiscal 2020.

The English textbooks were the first to undergo the government’s quadrennial textbook-screening process.

The textbooks are designed to allow fifth- and sixth-graders to learn a total of 600 to 700 English words and develop hearing, reading and writing skills, as well as abilities to speak English in conversation and presentation.

A total of 164 textbooks for 11 elementary school subjects were submitted by publishers to the screening process, and all of them passed, including after revisions.

The average number of pages for the textbooks, excluding English ones, at the time of submission was 10.0 pct higher than that for the existing textbooks.

“Active learning” methods, including debates, to be introduced under new teaching guidelines, are covered by 162 of the approved textbooks.

In line with the new guidelines, some social study textbooks refer to Sea of Japan islets called Takeshima, four islands off Hokkaido collectively known as the Northern Territories, and East China Sea isles called the Senkaku Islands as part of Japan’s inherent territory.

The islands are also claimed by South Korea, Russia and China, respectively.

Descriptions related to LGBT, or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, people, are mentioned for the first time, in two textbooks on the subject of health.

Meanwhile, many textbooks include quick response, or QR, codes for access to visual and audio materials, including the sounds of insects and a video showing how to use compasses.

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