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The education ministry has selected around 1,000 elementary and junior high schools nationwide to participate in a new program aimed at boosting students’ math and science abilities.

The new policy, formulated by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, advocates the use of a tutorial system to instruct small groups of students, ministry officials said.

It also seeks the appointment of special elementary school advisers in math and science at these so-called frontier schools.

In an effort to boost the learning capacity and motivation of students, the ministry is earmarking 1.1 billion yen of its fiscal 2002 budget request for the policy, which it hopes to implement next spring.

The ministry also advocates the creation of networks linking frontier schools and other schools in their districts, as well as the development of new teaching methods and educational materials that will eventually be adopted at all elementary and junior high schools throughout the nation.

According to ministry officials, the policy aims to enhance the students’ desire to learn and their ability to think for themselves.

Under the proposals, the number of teachers hired at frontier schools will exceed the set number of instructors at regular schools.

Classes will be divided according to the students’ abilities, with special lessons devised for advanced groups and review lessons scheduled for slow learners, the officials said.

Math and science advisers, along with special teams, will be installed at junior high schools to conduct relatively high-level experiments aimed at stimulating students’ interest in the subject matter.

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