I read an interview on Mr. Yoshifumi Saito in a recent issue of the vernacular Asahi Shimbun (lit. Asahi Newspaper). He is a professor at the state-run University of Tokyo, known as the most prestigious university in Japan.
His opinion is rather shocking to me because he says that the acquisition of practical English at school is a fantasy.
He also says that a large number of Japanese people think that students should be able to use English after they study English for six to ten years at school and that this premise itself is funny.
Some people say that Japanese people cannot speak English well because they worry too much about English grammar. Professor Yoshifumi Saito says that it is untrue and concludes that grammar is important to the learning of English.
English is taught at Japanese junior high schools for three years and at high schools for another three years' period. Quite a few Japanese high school students go on to university, where they also study English. Most of them, however, cannot make themselves well understood in English.
In my opinion, the English education system of Japan is rather grammar-oriented and making a large number of Japanese people with linguistic xenophobia. I think the system should attach more importance to English speaking skills.
I would like to hear your opinion.
Let me have some information on the teaching system of English as a second language in your country, if you are a non-native speaker of English.