The education ministry’s aim in enforcing tests like TOEIC as part of its requirement for high school students trying to go to college was dubious from the outset (“TOEIC opts out of new university entrance tests,” July 3). So it is unsurprising that exam producers like ETS now want nothing to do with it.
Twenty years ago, the government mandated that high school students should be able to handle conversational English, but the education ministry has flunked the task repeatedly. Enforcing spoken exams was a last gasp Hail Mary to cover their failure at candidates’ expense as the latter have to dish out exorbitant amounts just to take the exam, and even more to prepare, as the government never bothered to provide enough qualified teachers, opting for middlemen exploiting temporary hires often without the ability or aptitude needed to succeed.
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