National

Low income households to get financial break on Japan's university English tests

Kyodo

The government will give a financial break to members of low income households when they take English tests to be introduced under a new university entrance system in fiscal 2020, education minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Tuesday.

The fees should be regarded as part expenses required upon taking university entrance examinations, Hayashi told a news conference.

His remarks came a day after the National Center for University Entrance Examinations said 23 private English tests can be used for the new unified admission exam.

The 23 include the Test of English for International Communication, known as TOEIC, and the Eiken Test in Practical English Proficiency.

Under the new system, students will no longer need to complete a second interview after passing written and listening Eiken tests, and they can finish the popular English proficiency exam in one day.

English tests from seven organizations have been certified. Currently, their fees vary from ¥6,000 to ¥25,000.

The examination center hopes to make it possible for students to take their preferred English tests, regardless of their areas of residence or their economic circumstances.

The education ministry plans to ask the seven private-sector providers to reduce fees for the tests, according to Hayashi.

The ministry will record which external English test is chosen by each high school and consider the extent of the financial support in the coming months.

The government decided in December that expense-type scholarships will be expanded. This will apply in particular to households with an annual income of less than ¥2.5 million, including help with university examination fees.