• Kyodo

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The education ministry said Thursday it is considering holding standardized university entrance exams in January as planned, despite months of high school closures due to the new coronavirus outbreak.

The education ministry is considering going ahead with the current exam schedule for Jan. 16 and 17 after a survey of 5,276 public and private high schools nationwide found that 69.0 percent hope the exams will be held according to the current plan.

The delayed classes, which came as a result of school closures requested by the government to curb the spread of the virus, have prompted discussions on postponing the exam schedule. Japan’s academic year starts in April.

The ministry held a meeting with high school and university officials Thursday to discuss the exam dates. As the nation’s state of emergency was lifted nationwide by late May, many schools restarted. But some officials called for delaying the schedule at the meeting, as progress in making up for lost time varies among schools and regions, a ministry official said.

The ministry said it will look at postponement if there is a resurgence in virus infections. Standardized university entrance exams are held in mid-January every year for public and private universities. Standardized exams for enrollment next year will be introduced with new question formats.

The survey conducted by the National Association of Upper Secondary School Principals showed 30.0 percent said the exams should be conducted as planned, and a further 39.0 percent said they should be carried out as planned with alternative dates prepared in case of postponement.

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