28 January 2011

News trends for EFL, TEFL in Japan

Here is a round-up of some recent online news stories that relate to TEFL and EFL in Japan.

1. The Yomiuri newspaper reports that Takeda Pharmaceutical will require a TOEIC score of 730 for job applicants in 2013. It is unusual for companies that are mostly focused on the domestic market to require such a high tested English level (but Rakuten, the online shopping mall company, and Fast Retail/Uniqlo, are going to English as their official company language).

It could be because more and more such companies feel they will be forced to find more markets for their products and services overseas. To be sure, a company as big as Takeda imposing a TOEIC requirement will have the effect of other companies following suit. The ultimate effect, then, would be more and more institutions, faculties and departments requiring it in their entrance and/or graduation requirements.

Full article at link below; brief excerpt follows link. 

Takeda to require 730 TOEIC score of new hires

Beginning in 2013, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. will require new college graduates to score 730 or more points on the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) if they want to work for the nation's largest pharmaceutical firm....Takeda's decision likely will influence the recruitment policies of other major companies, observers said.

2.  Only 20% of English conversation teachers give classes in English


Only 20 percent of English oral communication teachers at Japanese public high schools were giving classes in English in 2010, far short of the "100 percent" target three years from now....The ratio was also low among teachers for cross-cultural understanding classes included in English language courses, with only 35 percent of them found to be using English....As Japan will introduce new high school education guidelines starting in the academic year beginning April 2013 that basically require all teachers to use English in teaching English classes, the Education...Ministry said it intends to instruct schools to raise the percentages to realize a smooth transition.

3. Language teachers to go to U.S. for exchanges


Japan will beef up people-to-people exchanges with the United States this year by dispatching young teachers of the Japanese language and English to the country, government officials said Friday. Tokyo will launch new programs to send those teachers in the fiscal year starting in April amid concerns that bilateral ties could weaken with declines in the number of Japanese students enrolled at U.S. universities and cuts in the Japanese budget for a project to invite American and other foreign university graduates to teach English at Japanese schools. The government has earmarked ¥500 million in the fiscal 2011 budget to send 100 Japanese teachers of the English language aged 40 or younger to U.S. universities to learn English teaching methods for six months, the officials said.

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