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The education ministry unveiled a plan Monday in which 10,000 high school students will be sent overseas each year to study and 100 high schools will be selected to provide advanced English education by the 2005-2006 academic year.

The five-year plan for strengthening English-language education at public schools was presented to a forum in Tokyo by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry.

It was compiled based on the ministry’s goals of improving proficiency so students can communicate in English by the time they graduate from junior high or high school and use it at work after they complete their university studies.

The ministry will launch a nationwide study of English curricula in the next academic year to find the best teaching methods.

It will also set up a panel to discuss the future of English-language education at elementary schools.

The national and local governments will hold intensive training so that every English instructor will have abilities equivalent to passing the pre-level 1 English Language Proficiency test. Overseas training programs for teachers will be expanded.

Under the part of the plan to send high school students abroad, the ministry will make additional efforts to provide information about where they can study and will partially subsidize travel expenses for about 1,000 students for the 2003-2004 academic year.

It will ask universities to set performance goals for English-language education and include a listening comprehension section in the nationwide university entrance exam in the 2006-2007 academic year.

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