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Introduction of private English tests for Japan univ. entrance to be postponed: minister

Education minister Koichi Hagiuda responds to questions during a news conference on the postponement of the introduction of private English tests for university entrance exams, in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Nov. 1, 2019. (Mainichi/Daiki Takigawa)

TOKYO -- The introduction of private English tests for university entrance exams will be postponed, Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Koichi Hagiuda announced at a press conference Nov. 1.

The tests, held in lieu of the National Center Test for University Admissions currently administered by an independent administrative agency, were to be adopted starting with the 2020 academic year, but will now be reviewed completely, including whether private English tests will be used. Hagiuda said the ministry would aim to adopt a new system in the 2024 academic year.

The National Center for University Entrance Examinations was set to begin to accept applications for the issuance of common IDs necessary to sit the private English exams, on Nov. 1 but this has now been suspended.

Hagiuda's announcement, which followed a Cabinet meeting on Nov. 1, came on the heels of a remark he made on a television program Oct. 24, in which he said, "people should choose to compete for university places in accordance with their standing," despite it being pointed out that the test-taking scheme created economic and regional disparities.

Hagiuda's comment had been criticized particularly by those preparing for upcoming entrance exams, and by high school staff and instructors. They said it appeared as if he were permitting economic and regional disparities.

(Japanese original by Kenichi Mito, City News Department)

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