In a bid to be more globally competitive and raise the level of English education in the country, the Japanese Ministry of Education will soon begin conducting their meetings in the language. As using English in meetings is highly unusual in the country, the ministry will start implementing it slowly, beginning with high-level officials in their department.
To help them with this, the ministry has sought for an English Education Project Officer that will be in charge of coming up with strategies and plans pertaining to English education. The post, though on a part-time basis, would require someone who has taken an English proficiency test called TOEIC with a score of at least 800. The ministry has chosen a candidate who was successful in integrating the English language as a corporate official language to a private company, and will stay with the ministry for a one-year contract. The English Education Project Officer will join top-level meetings within the ministry to assess their capability and suggest improvements. An official from the Education Ministry said, “By using English among ourselves, we hope we will be able to broaden our perspectives on English education.”
The move is part of the ministry’s reform plans to require English in elementary and junior high schools. The plan would see English as a requisite subject for fifth graders and up, with the language being taught in English, as needed. The reform plan is still being prepared, and planning of programs on how to implement it are still being finalized. However, the ministry is also considering releasing minutes of their meetings in English to encourage people with the reform program.