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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 September 18 - 24  > Concern is growing over Japan's new standardized university entrance exam system
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2019 September 18 - 24 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Concern is growing over Japan's new standardized university entrance exam system

September 18, 2019

Akahata 'current' column

Concern is growing over the introduction of private-sector English tests such as TOEFL iBT as part of Japan's new standardized university entrance examination system which will start in FY2020. A National Association of Upper Secondary School Principals survey revealed that almost all school principals voiced concern over the introduction of private-sector English tests and that 70% called for a postponement of the new system.

Many respondents said that they have concerns about the partiality of tests due to family income disparities and regional differences. They expressed concern about the test-takers' burden of paying test fees and of transportation costs to test venues as well as about possible difficulties in securing seats at test venues in some regions, and therefore claimed that the new system cannot guarantee equal opportunity for applicants to take privately-prepared English tests. They also cast doubt on whether universities can fairly evaluate applicants' test scores.

Examinees, high school students, teachers, and parents are also raising their concerns. However, in a tweet about this issue, former Education Minister Shibayama Masahiko opposed political discussions among high school students. In addition, current Minister of Education Hagiuda Koichi, despite facing the need to reconsider the new system, showed his firm intent to implement the new system.

The new system will possibly harm the fairness and equality of entrance exams and will most likely be disadvantageous to many examinees. If the government introduces the new system as planned in the interest of private companies, it may destroy the foundation of Japan's education.
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