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The Central Education Council, an advisory body for the education minister, has proposed increasing class hours by about 10 percent for key subjects like Japanese, arithmetic, math, science, social studies and gym at elementary and middle schools. As for electives and the so-called integrated-study classes — in which schools have leeway to decide what to teach — the council calls for fewer hours. The proposal represents a revision of the trend since 1977 of decreasing class hours.

The proposal comes as some people argue that the reduction of class hours under the “more relaxed” education policy has caused a decline in academic performance. But a correlation between class hours and academic performance has not been established. It is regrettable that the proposal has been made without a thorough assessment of the “more relaxed” education policy.

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