Reader Mail

Teach for utility, not for tests

Regarding the story “Private sector English tests postponed until 2024,” I’ve heard quite a few foreigners complain about very how few Japanese people can communicate with them in English. Living in a globalizing society, this is a problem. Our English education needs to change. However, I believe students should not have to face the burden of a new style of testing without any changes in education itself.

The biggest problem with Japanese English education is that the main purpose of learning English is to pass tests. We don’t learn the words and phrases that we are most likely to use in real life, but rather we learn more about the words most likely to come up in tests. How will this change after the new test?

First of all, for the students taking this new test, this huge change was less than two years before the actual test. The details were told much later, and even then, people were still very confused. Even teachers were confused, unsure if they should change the curriculum or not. Many were worried about their future, as the change is quite drastic. Postponing the test system will not change this.

I believe that it is extremely unfair for these students for the government to put their futures at risk without first changing the education system itself. Unless we do so, the test changes will not bring any positive effects. Schools will continue to teach students to pass these new tests as we do now. I hope the government acknowledges this and works on the school curriculum rather than just tests, so Japan can progress more in the global society.

MARINA NAKAYAMA
SHIBUYA WARD, TOKYO

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.