What is HEC?

** For 2024, the Hokkaido English Challenge is continuing with the HEC Test as well as HEC Camp!

Thank you for your continued support! **

The Hokkaido English Challenge is an English competition for junior and senior high school students. It was established by JET Program participants in 1994 as a means of motivating students to improve their speaking skills. HEC’s founders hoped that interaction with Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) would boost the student’s confidence and language abilities. The test challenges students to use the English they have learned beyond the classroom setting, allowing them more interaction with a native English speaker, while using their abilities creatively.

HEC also hosts an immersive English summer camp for top winners in each junior and senior high division. The top winners for the 2024 HEC Test will be invited to join a fun summer camp where they can meet native English speakers as well as other students who love English!

To provide prizes, HEC relies on entry fees and donations gathered from fundraisers. It is only with the fantastic support from the Hokkaido Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (HAJET) and Hokkaido’s ALTs that we are able to hold this competition every year. HEC is accredited by the Hokkaido Board of Education and is sponsored by HAJET.

The HEC team is very excited to announce the timeline for the Hokkaido English Challenge and HEC Camp 2024!!

The two big components of HEC 2024 are the test (administered by an ALT and a witness) and the HEC Summer Camp! The top students who take the test will be invited to Camp in July. Upon completion of the test, each student will also receive a Certificate of Completion that can be supplementary towards high school and university applications.

The HEC Test is open for all JHS and SHS first-year students in Hokkaido.

The entry fee is ¥3000.

Registration Period: December 4th, 2023 – February 12th, 2024

🥇 The Grand Prize winner will receive up to 30,000 yen in English related gifts of the student’s choosing.

🥈 The second place winner will receive up to 15,000 yen in English related gifts of the student’s choosing.

 🥉 The third place winner will receive up to 7,500 yen in English related gifts of the student’s choosing.

Thank you to the ALTs and their students who have expressed interest in doing the English Challenge despite the setbacks of this year. We are endlessly thankful for your continued support and we look forward to cooperating with you for another successful HEC year! Be on the lookout for more details about HEC coming out soon.

* Participation of ALTs and their corresponding Board of Education may vary depending on the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions.

Registration is limited to a maximum of 10 students per school. There is no limit on number of students per town of region.


HEC is an exciting opportunity for both the ALT and the students. There is a lot of information and steps that need to be done, so it can get overwhelming. But not to worry, we’ve put together this great list that has all the important documents you need to successfully administer the Hokkaido English Challenge right at your schools.

This great list includes:

Links to all these resources as well as further explanation can be found on the Information Page. If you have any questions about how to use these documents or about HEC in general, please contact the HEC Director, Megan Weiler at hajet.hec.director@gmail.com, or the HEC Co-Director at hajet.hec.codirector@gmail.com.

General Timeline for 2023-2024

December 4th, 2023: Registration starts (on-going until February 12th, 2024). Start talking to your teachers about HEC and gauging the interest of your students.

January: Practice with your students! Look over past tests, available here. Read through all materials and make sure both you and your students understand the rules of each section. Register students for the test.

February: Registration deadline is February 12th, 2024. During February, practice with your students. Prepare video/audio equipment, a room, and a witness.

March: Tests arrive at schools on March 1st, 2024. Check your recording room and equipment, then go for it! Testing period is March 1st to March 29th, 2024. Video submissions of tests must be turned in by March 31st, 2024.

April: Judges review tests! Look out for correspondence from HEC Test Committee Chair.

May: Final round of judging takes place.

End of May: Winners announced!