http://www.straitstimes.com/STI/STIMEDIA/sp/2010/images/st.gifBy Kwan Weng Kin. TOKYO - An acceptable score in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which measures proficiency in the language, is required for entry into many universities in the English-speaking world. But Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has hit upon the idea of using TOEFL to raise the standard of English of his fellow countrymen.
Starting in 2015, he wants young Japanese who aspire to become part of the country’s elite national bureaucracy to obtain a good pass in the TOEFL, in the conviction that Japan needs more civil servants who can communicate in English. Currently, applicants are only tested in English reading comprehension. The TOEFL exam tests listening comprehension as well.
In what could possibly be a far-reaching move, Mr Abe also wants all Japanese students to sit for the TOEFL exam before they apply for a Japanese university and also before they are allowed to graduate. The idea of requiring students to submit TOEFL scores in order to enter university in Japan has been touted by experts before. But requiring students to also submit TOEFL scores in order to graduate is quite a novelty. Naturally, students will have to do reasonably well in the test. Read more...