A panel set up by the Central Education Council decided Tuesday to propose increasing classroom hours for core subjects at elementary and junior high schools for the first time in 30 years, a move that would partially alter the current policy of lightening the curriculum.
The plan is aimed at upgrading the current school curriculum guidelines to raise children’s academic abilities, which have been declining.
The number of hours allotted for the so-called integrated study classes, in which schools are allowed to decide what to teach to students, would be greatly reduced, according to panelists.
The proposal will be reflected in the expected revision of school curriculum guidelines to be introduced as early as 2011, according to the panelists.
Classroom hours at elementary schools would be increased by 278 hours during the six-year period to 5,645 hours in total, while those for junior high school would be upped by 105 hours to 3,045 hours, according to the proposal.
For elementary schools, the plan calls for increasing the number of hours for Japanese language, mathematics, science, social studies and physical education by 6 percent to 16 percent, while the integrated study classes would be cut from the current 430 hours to 280 hours, the panelists said.
The plan also calls for an hour per week for studying English for the higher grades of elementary school.
For junior high schools, the panel is eyeing boosting the number of hours for the five key subjects and physical education by more than 10 percent and science by 33 percent to 385 hours. English would turn out to be the subject with the most number of classroom hours, up from 315 at current levels to 420.