• Kyodo

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The education ministry is considering increasing the number of schools that offer a full nine years of compulsory education to avoid the dislocation that some students experience when moving from elementary school to junior high school, sources said Tuesday.

Compulsory education in Japan usually comprises six years at elementary school and three years at junior high school. Currently, schools offering the full nine years of combined education need special registration.

Under the plan, the education ministry would set up a new category — tentatively named “compulsory education schools” — to allow school committees to operate the nine-year curriculum more flexibly. A system in which different teachers teach different subjects, which usually starts from junior high school, could be introduced for students at the upper end of their elementary-school period.

The idea will be included in a proposal to be compiled as early as July by a government panel discussing education reform.