Thursday, July 10, 2014

Skilled in tests, not English

April 21. 2013 9:14PM
Story Tools
PrintPrint | E-MailEMail | SaveSave | Hear Generate QR Code QR
Send to Kindle

Japan’s obsession with testing is growing, according to new information from the Eiken Foundation of Japan. The foundation, which oversees one of Japan’s most oft-taken English exams, the Eiken, has reported that the number of primary school students taking the Eiken test in practical English proficiency has reached the highest number ever.

More than 200,000 primary school students sat for the exam in fiscal 2012, up 80 percent from 10 years ago.

The reasons why the foundation released the data by age group for the first time this year is unclear, but perhaps they would like to compete with the English exam currently being promoted by the Abe administration, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). In Japan, not only test-takers compete, but test-makers. too.

The competition for applicants, status and income in the massive testing industry has never been fiercer. The push for greater internationalization in has unfortunately not resulted in improved English, but rather in more customers eager to display their English ability through such exams.

Now, students younger than ever are taking English exams.

Schools, teachers and parents should move away from the testing obsession. There is no good reason why 5-year-olds need to display their achievements through such exams. Instead, energy can be better focused on developing children’s all-around language skills.

English should become a life skill, not a test number. The pressure on young children to be tested on yet one more part of their education does little to advance the long-term goals of producing workers and members of society who can function satisfactorily in English.

The Japan Times, Tokyo

comments powered by Disqus Commenting Guidelines
Mortgage Minute

Search for New & Used Cars

Used New All

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just the home you want!

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just what you need!

Search Pet Classifieds
Dogs Cats Other Animals

Social Media/RSS
Times Leader on Twitter
Times Leader on Youtube
Times Leader on Google+
The Times Leader on Tumblr
The Times Leader on Pinterest
Times Leader RSS Feeds