AI robots to boost spoken English skills of Japanese students

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Tokyo, Aug 19 (IANS) The government of Japan is planning to introduce English-speaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) robots in classrooms to help children improve their English speaking skills, considered one of the worst in the world.

The Japanese education ministry would be launching a pilot programme to test the effectiveness of the initiative in April 2019, reports Efe news.

The initiative will be initially rolled out in 500 schools throughout the country with the aim of fully implementing it in two years, public broadcaster NHK reported Saturday.

The programme also includes study apps and online conversation sessions with native English speakers.

Japan has proposed improving English skills ahead of the surge in tourists expected during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

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According to data from the most recent EF English Proficiency Index in 2017, Japan is ranked 37th out of a total of 80 countries.

The latest test and score data of TOEFL, the most popular English language proficiency test, showed that Japanese test-takers have among the worst scores as compared to their Asian counterparts, and are especially poor in speaking, along with Burkina Faso and Congo.

–IANS

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