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The Ministry developed a system to permit the formation and implementation of the curriculums which do not necessarily conform to the current standards and conduct practical researches on new curriculums and teaching methods, in order to collect demonstrative materials useful to improve the curriculums, including the Course of Study (experimental schools system). Past outcomes of practical researches have been used effectively as demonstrative references in improving curriculums, such as the introduction of "life environmental studies" (1988) and the establishment of the "Period for Integrated Study" (1998).
In FY 2000, the budget has been significantly increased to enable more focused and intensive researches, and to take individual school or regional awareness of educational problems into consideration, research themes are now determined independently on the judgment of regional boards of education. Some examples of such active efforts are listed below.
|[Close association between Japanese language and other subjects]|
(Kanazawa City Yoneizumi Elementary School: Ishikawa Prefecture)
The school is exploring a closer association between Japanese language and other subjects by setting up a "time for self-expression" (tentative title), for example, and working on research to improve ability to express oneself across all the subjects.
|[Curriculum development at a partnership type of unified lower and upper secondary school]|
(Ajimu-Cho Ajimu Junior High Schools and other four schools: Oita Prefecture)
The schools are studying special cases of curriculum development at a partnership type of unified school which is not in place yet, such as the mixing of lower and upper secondary school subjects in English and mathematics.
|[Reorganization of existing subjects]|
(Shinagawa-Ward Ito Elementary School and two other schools: Tokyo)
The schools re-categorized subjects for primary and lower secondary schools into groups of natural science, social education (general culture), living and health, and arts, and is developing new curriculums which are made up of such groups.
|[English education at elementary schools]|
(Kawachi-Nagano-City Amano Elementary School: Osaka Prefecture)
To explore desirable methods of English education at elementary schools, the school is conducting a comprehensive study of teaching purposes, contents, methods and evaluation standards in case English is officially introduced as a new subject. For example, the school is: (1) setting up a 20-minute English study time everyday for 1st and higher graders, and (2) introducing reading and writing (literacy) activities on a step-by-step basis, for 4th and higher graders.
|[Closer association between the industry and occupational education]|
(Tokyo Municipal Kuramae Industrial High School: Tokyo)
By referencing a dual system (Occupational education system in Germany) and extensively introducing working experience under the curriculum in partnership with corporations, the school is studying the development of students' abilities to practice and create in response to ever progressing technical innovation.
* For details please visit the website of experimental schools system:
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