Monday, March 05, 2012

University of Tokyo's 2-Dimensional Semester Shift

University of Tokyo and 30 other institutions plan to change their academic calendar in five years in order to conform with more global educational interests. This change was called a "major overhaul" in one article.

It is a 2-dimensional change along a time line, in a country where "new curriculum" consists of a reshuffling of classes in a schedule grid. Though substantial improvements in education over a broad spectrum would be useful in attracting attention to Japan's academic quality, the subterfuge that a change on a schedule of classes is meaningful again takes center stage.

As is often the case in these reschedulings, the need for people to learn English arises.

“The issue up to now has been the lack of an education [system] that can facilitate Japanese students to speak their mind in English. The internet is based on English proficiency and this is where Japanese education must raise its profile,” he (Researcher, Masakazu Goto) said.

Mr. Goto says that Japanese students who can speak their mind in English are valuable, but a change in the schedule of university classes is unlikely to make an impact. He also says that the Internet is based on English proficiency, and while a majority of shared information on the Internet is in English, the sharing is predominantly done through reading and writing.

A comprehensive change over the whole of society in order to help people develop their language skills is the only way to promote English ability or any other academic endeavor. In a country where many book stores carry not a single English title among their wares, a time change is unlikely to have a significant impact.

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