Is English language learning necessary in Japanese primary schools?
As English becomes more popular in the world, Japanese people seem to be getting more anxiety in their English education. In addition, there are a lot of figures, such as the average TOEFL score of the college students, those which suggest the inefficacy of the Japan’s English education. As solutions for this anxiety, MEXT had been proposed some things such as to make English as Japanese official language. In these days, the debate of the primary school English becomes very hot among those issues. In this essay, I would like to argue that English language learning is necessary in Japanese primary schools (probably for 5th and 6th graders) because of following reasons;
1) To assert the primary school English is unnecessary is not realistic because both parents and business world have very strong desire on the future people to skilled in using English.
2) By ensuring the necessity of English education in primary schools, governments will work on setting more specific curriculum for it.
First of all, since the vast majority of people feel English is necessary for children, it is unrealistic to assert English is not necessary for the elementary school pupils. According to a survey by Benesse corporation, nearly 90 percent of the parents and teachers feel that English is necessary for children’s future. Also, 75% of the parents and 64% of the teachers answered that it is better to start learning English as early as possible . As if responding to people’s feeling, 93.6% of public primary schools have already started teaching English in primary schools . Clearly, these figures show that most people admit the necessity of studying English before entering junior high school. Under such situations, it seems meaningless to state English is not necessary in elementary school.
In addition to the above, not only denying the necessity of the English is not pragmatic, but to accept its necessity will enable the Japan’s English education to make a breakthrough. As many people point out (for example, Mr. Igawa) a weakness in the Japan’s English education is its unfixed curriculum . At current stage, even though most elementary schools have classes, there is no official curriculum in Japan. However, if the government makes English as a compulsory subject, at the same time, they will be required to make a specific plan for it. In other words, rather than leaving the issue ambiguous, it will be better to accept the necessity of the English in primary schools.
In conclusion, elementary school English is necessary because we can no longer deny it. Also, it will be better to accept its necessity and to make next steps.
 Benesse corporation 第一回小学校英語に関する基本調査、2006
 The Daily Yomiuri “Primary school English debate heats up” 2006.
 Koji Igawa “Issues in English Language Education at Korean Elementary Schools” 2007.