Fukui Prefecture, Junior High School Students’ English Levels, Number One in Japan

Fukui Prefecture, Junior High School Students’ English Levels, Number One in Japan

2019 Report, Third Year in a Row, 61% for 3rd Year JHS Students Have at Least EIKEN Grade 3 Proficiency

On July 15th, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) released an implementation status survey report regarding English education across public elementary, junior high, and senior high schools in Japan, during the 2019 fiscal year. Within Fukui Prefecture, 61.4% of third-year junior high school (JHS) students had an English proficiency equivalent to “EIKEN Grade 3 or higher” (a 0.2 point increase, from the previous year), and 58.4% of third-year senior high school (SHS) students had an English proficiency equivalent to “EIKEN Pre-Grade 2 or higher” (a 2.4 point increase); by prefecture, the numbers paced Fukui Prefecture in top place for the third year in a row.

The survey was carried out in December 2019, by prefecture and government ordinance city for JHS, and by prefecture for SHS. In addition to looking at English certificates obtained by the students (equivalent to EIKEN Grade 3 for JHS students, and EIKEN Pre-Grade 2 for SHS students), the teachers’ judgement on whether the student “has the equivalent proficiency”, based on the student’s grades, are also taken into account. With the national average of 44.0% of third-year JHS students with such proficiency, and 43.6% for third-year SHS students, Fukui Prefecture surpassed other prefectures under both categories by a large margin.

In Fukui Prefecture, the percentage of English teachers with at least an EIKEN Pre-Grade 1 certification is 59.7% within junior high schools (a 1.0 point increase, from the previous year), and 93.9% within senior high schools (a 2.5 point increase). Compared to the national average of 38.1% among JHS English teachers, and 72.0% among SHS English teachers, Fukui Prefecture also excelled within these categories.

Regarding the verification of the high English proficiency of the students and teachers, the Fukui Prefectural Board of Education provided their analysis, “Along with lessons being conventionally carried out in English, we are maintaining our path along continuous improvement. This is the result of the steady progress by both the students and teachers.”

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1124557

Elementary and Junior High Schools in Fukui City, School Attendance and Club Activities Postponed Further

Elementary and Junior High Schools in Fukui City, School Attendance and Club Activities Postponed Further

Upon Confirmation of Infection Case, Postponed Until At Least April 2nd

On March 19th, upon the confirmation of a person infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within Fukui Prefecture’s Fukui City, the Fukui City Board of Education sent a notice to all elementary and junior high schools in the city, in which the resumption of school attendance and club activities is to be further postponed until at least April 2nd.

On March 11th, the municipal board of education had sent out a notice stating, from March 25th, when the school closures were to end upon entering the spring break, principals were given the freedom to resume attendance and club activities at their discretion, for their respective schools. Up until the 18th, nineteen elementary schools and twenty-four junior high schools had planned to resume attendance. As for April 2nd and onward, decisions will be based on the situation during that time.

During the early morning of March 19th, at the Fukui City Hall, Fukui City Mayor Shin’ichi Higashimura addressed the press corp, emphasizing that everything will be done to prevent the spread of the virus, and requesting the public to “remain composed, just as we have been doing so up to now.”

In April 2019, Fukui City transitioned into a core city, and transferred the management of its health care centre from prefectural to municipal, thus bearing the responsibility of infection control measures within the city. City Mayor Higashiyama expressed that “identifying the infection route is a major task” and will proceed in cooperation with the prefecture.

According to Kenji Goto, chief of the Fukui City Health Care Centre, the infected male company official did not have interactions with a large number of people, and had wore a mask while commuting and during his visit at a medical institution stating, “At present, the possibility of further infection is low.”

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1051129

Novel Coronavirus Leaves Facilities Within Fukui Prefecture Quiet

Novel Coronavirus Leaves Facilities Within Fukui Prefecture Quiet

Increased Book Borrowing at the Library in Preparation for Suspension

In the midst of the continued infection of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), on Sunday, March 1st, facilities within Fukui Prefecture, usually bustling with children and families, were quiet. Even in outdoor facilities where it is more difficult for a crowd to gather, parents and children were still discrete in their play. In libraries, families stood out in borrowing books, in preparation for the long school break from March 2nd.

At the Fukui Prefectural Library (located in Fukui City), asking students to practice self-discipline, the facility stated that on a normal weekend, there would be a line of 200 to 300 junior high school students lined up, waiting for the library to open; on the 1st, there was almost no children in sight. During this time, the library’s free study space would be full of students studying for the entrance exams, with an adult sitting in each four-person space, reading a book.

In response to the school closures, the library reported that people are borrowing about 5 more books than usual, going up to 15 books, considering more time will be spent at home. The number of visitors on February 29th were roughly 20-30% lower than normal, but compared to the Saturday and Sunday averages of the month, there were at least 1,000 more books loaned out, totalling to about 4,500 books. A Fukui City woman (aged 40) with her two daughters explained, “Because of the school closure, we’re borrowing more than usual,” taking 30 books on loan.

In Wai-Plaza Shinbo (located in Fukui City), “Asobi MA-RE”, an indoor amusement area for parents and children, there were roughly 20 people, with a staff member commenting, “It is usually bustling with about 200 people on a normal Sunday.” The facility will be closed from March 2nd to 13th.

At the temporarily closed prefectural science centre for children (known as “Angel Land”, located in Sakai City), regardless of the exceptionally fine weather during the winter season, there were much less children playing in the outdoor plaza. A woman (aged 35) from Fukui City explained her reason for visiting with her 3 six-year-old boys, “We didn’t want to go to a shopping centre, where there would be a lot of people; if we’re outside, we can maintain distance from other people.” When the children intend to interact with the playground equipment, they would not take food or drinks with them.

“Prioritizing the children’s safety, and to prevent infection, please refrain from being in the outdoor plaza,” expressed Angel Land in a statement.

Until March 15th, many facilities frequently visited by children, including the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum (located in Katsuyama City) and the Fukui Children’s Museum (located in Fukui City), are closed.

“Until spring, there will be many days with bad weather, and if the closure continues, it will be problematic for the facilities,” says a man (aged 39) visiting Angel Land with his family, expressing his worries.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1039387

Request by the Prime Minister, Temporary Closure of Schools across Japan

Request by the Prime Minister, Temporary Closure of Schools across Japan

On February 27th, at the Novel Coronavirus Infection Control Headquarters, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an appeal for the temporary closure of elementary, junior high, and senior high schools.

The closure is to be implemented from March 2nd and to continue through the spring break.

Regarding entrance examinations and graduation ceremonies, preventative measures against infection are insisted.

Source: https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXMZO56131560X20C20A2MM8000/

School Trips Postponed due to Novel Coronavirus

School Trips Postponed due to Novel Coronavirus

Four School Including Koshi Junior High School, In Response to Increasing Infection

On February 21st, in response to the increasing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections, four schools, Koshi Junior High School, Fukui University-affiliated Compulsory Education School, Obama Junior High School, and Takahama Junior High School, have decided to postpone their respective school trips, which were scheduled within March. Other elementary, junior high, and senior high schools are currently taking in consideration on whether or not to proceed with plans they have set in, and after, April.

For Koshi Junior High School, the plan was for about 90 second-year students to visit the University of Tokyo and Tokyo Disneyland; there would then be a presentation on the results of their trip, as if to invite other Fukui-born residents to explore beyond the prefecture, and on about what they have learned.

“We considered the merits, as well as the risks, of going on this trip,” said school principal Mitsuhiro Yamakawa, in response to an appeal, made by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, to carefully reconsider the necessity of holding events, in light of the continued increase of infections within the Greater Tokyo Area. The students and guardians were informed of the postponement on February 21st. For how long the trip will be postponed is still undecided.

At the Fukui University-affiliated Compulsory Education School, 103 eighth-year students (equivalent to second-year in junior high school) had planned to visit Tokyo, Yokohama, and Chiba during March 16th to 18th. It is planned for the school trip to be postponed until mid-May; however, depending on the situation of the infection, there is also a possibility for the trip to be pushed as far as the autumn season.

As for Obama Junior High School, their school trip was originally set from March 4th to 6th, while Takahama Junior High School’s trip was set for March 10th to 12th.

According to the Fukui Prefectural Board of Education, along with the four above mentioned schools, there are three other junior high school within the prefecture whose school trips are still scheduled between February 21st and the end of March.

In addition, an international exchange program that plans to sent 27 second-year students, gathered from across five different junior high schools in Sakai City, to Wales in England from March 11th is currently in discussions on whether to continue with the program.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1033926