Nova Corporation is one of the largest foreign language school chains that filed for bankruptcy on November 29, 2007. This action put many instructors in jeopardy of receiving their salary and students out of school. Perhaps it’s a cue for many other language schools to take teaching seriously. Teaching is not just a money grabber.
The unduly spending of ex-Nova Corporation’s President Nozomu Sahashi for TV commercials and new school branches put this corporation in grave debt. The debt came up to JPY50bn ($437m, £213m) as reported by BBC News.
A translated article in Newsweek Japan by David McNeil reported how a 30-year old esthetician lost ¥350,000 in the Nova collapse. She said, “Nova’s problems are problems for the entire English conversation industry. Instructors aren’t motivated, and since they are working under short-term contracts, there is no sense of professionalism.”
Turnover rates of native English speaking teachers are pretty high. According to many of my colleagues who have worked there for some time said women usually stay on average about 10 months, while men stay for one year or more. As previously mentioned in my first blog, many teachers come straight out of university or college with plans to just travel and make money at the same time. Ergo, professionalism can be pretty shady.
The so-called, “McDonaldization” of foreign language schools is a cheap way for students to take English language lessons from native English speakers. Even Assistant Language Teachers (who help Japanese Teacher with oral communication skills of students in the public and private elementary, junior high and high schools) are feeling the strains of the quality of education some teachers are providing.
“If (the government) wants to improve the quality of language in the public and private school system, the best thing is to hire qualified teachers, compensate them well, give them opportunities for training and give them job security so they’ll want to keep working here,” said David Ashton in the Japan Times Online. He is the president of the Nambu Foreign Workers Caucus of the Tokyo Nambu Union.