Kitanakagusuku pupils receive e-learning ESL from an American university

Kitanakagusuku pupils receive e-learning ESL from an American university

On October 22, pupils take a placement test after the opening ceremony at the Kitanakagusuku Central Community Center.

October 26, 2012, Ryukyu Shimpo

On October 22, at the Kitanakagusuku Central Community Center, the opening ceremony for the distance e-learning English as a Second Language program was held. Pupils will be taking an intensive English language program taught by teachers of the Washington State University (WSU). This program came to fruition this April through a joint agreement between the WSU, Kitanakagusuku and the non-profit organization the Ryukyu America Historical Research Society. It is the first time for the university to enter into such an agreement on an English language program with a municipal office in Japan.

The aim of the program is to help cultivate human resources capable of contributing to Okinawa’s future. The official starting date of the program is in November and a total of about 20 pupils from the village will participate. It also helps participants acquire the necessary language skill for future possible attendance at American universities as well as for work opportunities.

According to Shizuo Kishaba, the chairman of the society which initiated the program, American universities require Okinawan students to undertake a program of language study before they attend universities due to their insufficient English language skills. “If we think about the economic situation for Okinawan families, this extra requirement is quite a burden for them.” Having sufficient language skills to start with will allow participants to concentrate more on their university studies as well as on setting up a stable living environment overseas.

Kitanakagusuku mayor, Kunio Arakaki, commented, “Human resources are a precious treasure that we have in our village. We hope that they broaden their horizons and that their efforts will contribute to the village’s development.” One of the participants, Ishiru Tamaki, “I began to enjoy learning English after I’d been in the summer program for study in the United States. I like mathematics too, so maybe I can study it at an American university.”

(English translation by T&CT, Kyoko Tadaoka and Mark Ealey)

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