In a move sure to shake up the nation's English examination system for college enrollment, an education ministry panel has approved a plan featuring a complete shift to proficiency testing by private firms.

The envisioned shift to a private testing system reflects the nation's intention to improve students' ability to write and speak English — something long overlooked by the national standardized exam called "center shiken" (center test).

The proposed plan, approved Monday by a panel of experts set up by the ministry, will phase out the decades-old center shiken system, stipulating its English section give way to a variety of privately-run proficiency tests by fiscal 2024.