- 関西大学外国語教育研究 (ISSN:13467689)
- vol.8, pp.1-14, 2004-10
In the 21st century, as globalization is accelerating, we live in a networked transnational society, and we should cooperate with other nations in the world for international understanding regardless of differences in such matters as ethnicity, religion, and customs. In connection with this environment, the importance of English, an international language, as a communication tool, has begun to be re-recognized, and training in communication ability in English has become a major pillar of school education. Communication skills are considered important in contributing to Japanese development in the future. This trend is also reflected in English education, and cultivating "practical communication abilities" is specified as a goal in the Ministry's Courses of Study implemented in 2003. In July, 2002, an English education policy, "A Strategic Plan to Cultivate Japanese Abilities in English", was released by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to give impetus to implementing the Courses of Study. This was so unprecedented a language policy that it attracted the attention of not only the English education world but also our whole society. The purpose of this paper is to introduce this policy named "A Strategic Plan", to analyse why it has attracted general attention, to examine what the actual aim of the Ministry may be, and to consider to what extent the Ministry is likely to gain the results that it seeks. In addition, some suggestions are made regarding fundamental issues for improvements in educational environment, such as smaller class sizes and more English classes a week.