Japanese students not keen to study English

JAPAN - Seventy per cent of middle school students think English ability would be useful for obtaining a job in the future, but only 11 per cent want to get a job that requires English, according to an education ministry institute survey.

The survey, conducted by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry's National Institute for Educational Policy Research in November, covered 3,225 third-year middle school students nationwide.

Eighty-five per cent said they think, "It is important to study English" or "It is rather important."

To the question "Do you think studying English will be useful to get a job you want in the future?" 36 per cent responded, "I think so," and 34 per cent answered, "I generally think so." The 70 per cent who responded affirmatively marks a 23 percentage point increase from the previous survey in 2003.

Asked how they felt about English, 22 per cent responded, "I like English" and 30 per cent chose "I like English" when asked to choose between "like" and "dislike."

Only 11 per cent responded they strongly hope to get a job that requires English skills, down six percentage points from the previous survey.

In contrast, 43 per cent answered, "I don't want to get a job that requires English skills," up from 36 per cent in the previous survey.

Kenji Miyauchi, head of the research and development section at the institute's Curriculum Research Center, said, "[Students] are keenly aware of the importance of English in this age of globalization, but at the same time, they don't seem to want to study English or they think it's troublesome to do so."