Contexts of English education

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The following are some of the contexts in which English is taught and learned in Japan.

Private classes for pregnant mothers
Some private schools offer classes to pregnant mothers as a part of prenatal training.
Private classes for toddlers and small children
Some private schools offer classes to infants and small children.
Nursery schools (hoikuen) and kindergartens (yōchien)
Some private nursery schools and kindergartens offer instruction and play in English.
Elementary schools (shōgakkō)
Japanese elementary schools provide six years of education to children aged six to twelve. Since 2011, all schools have been required to offer 35 hours of foreign-language activities per year; in the large majority of schools, the primary foreign language is English. English is scheduled to become a regular academic subject in elementary schools starting in 2020.
Junior-high schools (chūgakkō)
Junior-high schools provide three years of education; together with elementary schools, they provide the compulsory education mandated by the Japanese constitution. English has been an officially required subject for all three years only since 2002, though in fact nearly all schools had already been teaching English to all students for several decades.
High schools (kōkō)
Most high schools offer three years of education. Although high school attendance is not legally required, over 97 percent of children enter high school. Nearly all high schools, both public and private, offer English classes.
Colleges and universities (tankidaigaku/tandai and daigaku)
Nearly all colleges and universities offer English, and it is a required subject for students in most majors. Some universities offer programs in which most or all content courses are taught in English.
Vocational schools (senmon gakkō)
Many vocational schools offer English.
Private preparatory schools (juku and yobikō)
These schools offer supplementary classes and tutoring in English and other subjects to children and young people preparing for examinations.
English conversation schools (Eikaiwa gakkō)
These private schools offer English classes to people of all ages.
Adult-education courses
Many private and public organizations offer English courses as a part of their nondegree enrichment education programs—sometimes called "culture centers"—for adults of all ages.
Test-preparation courses
Many schools of various types offer English courses as preparation for the TOEIC, TOEFL, IELTS, Eiken, and other examinations.
International schools
English is taught and used as a first language at some international schools in Japan. At others, the language of instruction might be Korean, Chinese, French, etc., and English is taught as a foreign language.
Television, radio, correspondence, and online courses
The national broadcaster NHK (J) offers television and radio courses in English as a foreign language (as well as other languages). The Open University of Japan (J) also offers English classes by television, radio, and the Internet.
Private classes and tutoring
Some Japanese people study English at their homes, in coffee shops, and other locations together with private tutors.
Overseas homestay and study programs
Many schools and universities arrange for their students to spend time or study outside Japan. There are also private companies and nonprofit organizations that coordinate such programs.
Corporate training
Many private companies, government organizations, and other employers offer English classes to their employees.
Immersion programs (summer camps, etc.)
Many people in Japan study English without a teacher and outside of any school or institutional context. This study is often done by individuals, but sometimes groups of people gather to study or practice English together.