I was appointed as the leader of the LDP’s working group on the English proficiency tests for the standardized university entrance examinations last November. Since then, with the group members, I have worked hard, visiting high schools and universities, holding hearings from the concerned institutions and business companies, having discussion meetings in the LDP, and formulated a draft proposal. The draft proposal was approved as the LDP’s official proposal by Mr. Fumio Kishida, Chairperson of the LDP’s Policy Research Council, and was submitted to the MEXT. The MEXT has its own committee of specialists which will review the LDP’s official proposal. The MEXT’s official proposal will be endorsed by the government in a year or so.
As I mentioned in my previous article, English education—considered to be the weakest aspect in Japan’s education—is a key to fostering international and global human resources. I have repeatedly suggested that Japanese universities’ English education should aim at raising the standard of four skills of English—listening, speaking, reading and writing—in a well-balanced manner. Particularly, I have stressed that the English proficiency tests for the standardized university entrance examinations play an important role in evaluating the examinees’ four skills of English.
I will keep a close eye on people’s reactions to the government’s movement to make sure that our proposal has covered all necessary issues and recommended appropriate and reliable ideas concerning the English Proficiency Tests as well as Japan’s English education as a whole.