LDP panel wants first grade open to 5-year-olds

Kyodo

An education reform panel of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will propose bringing forward elementary school enrollment by one year so 5-year-olds can start compulsory education, sources said Friday.

The panel headed by House of Representatives member Toshiaki Endo will also suggest changing the nation’s 6-3-3 education system, which refers to six years at elementary school, three years at junior high school and three years at high school, to 4-4-4 or a 5-4-3 system.

The recommendations, which will be submitted next week to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who heads the LDP, are expected to be reflected in the party’s campaign platform for the July House of Councilors election.

The group will also call for allowing high-achieving students to skip grades, making possible earlier graduation from high school as well as continued education by unifying the elementary and secondary school systems and providing financial assistance to advanced educational programs.

In April, the LDP body proposed that universities set minimum scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) that students must achieve to gain entrance and to graduate.