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They Got Him!!!

Better late than never. The Osaka police folk nabbed the former President and CEO of now defunct NOVA Corporation, Nozomu Sahashi. See “Former Nova chief arrested” for all the details.

All I will say is this guy is a crook, and wouldn’t know how to properly manage a sandwich in to a paper bag. I sincerely hope they throw the book at him. I don’t wish him any ill will, I just want him to rot in jail for the rest of his life. That’s how much he owes, fiscally and emotionally. But now the final decisions are up to the Osaka justice system. The Japanese justice system usually has a 99% conviction rate. I hope this guy isn’t in that 1% who get-off.

The Daily Yomuiri Online also has a good write-up if you care to read from more than one source. I pray for his soul. Peace

Berlitzers Feeling A Little Bellicose

And I thought it was just NOVA/GCommunications who gave their teachers a raw deal. I guess not. According to John Spiri’s Zeit Gist article in the Japan Times of Tuesday, May 6th, 2008, teachers at the eikawa school of Berlitz are striking and fighting mad. You can see the full article by clicking on the title – “As parent firm posts record profits, Berlitz teachers strike back.”

A little FYI stuff – Berlitz is run by Benesse Corporation. Berlitz International, Inc. still has its name attached to schools all over the world, but know that the backing behind the behemoth is a Japanese. Another little sidenote – I sent a comment to the Japan Times about this article. See the full text below:

This is in response to the article, “As parent firm posts record profits, Berlitz teachers strike back” by John Spiri. The article outlines what is the trend with eikawas around the country. This has to end. I was a NOVA teacher for 5 years before its collapse. I now work independently as well as at a local university. I can safely say that the fall of NOVA was the best thing for me. I work less and get paid more, and my work is far more fulfilling in that I have time to prepare for classes. I have time to really interact with the students and gauge their performances in a much more pedagogically useful way. I can give hardcore criticism without fear of “losing revenue.” This security makes teaching more worthwhile.

Another perspective that I’ve gained as a result of working in the eikawa industry, and that arose from the fall of NOVA is the essential need for eikawas in the overall English language learning industry. University level students are amazing in an academic setting, but what I have realized is they lack basic conversation skills. They haven’t been taught how to have a simple conversation. This doesn’t just affect the university students I teach, but also my private students. Adults who have been studying English for quite a while still seem to lack the confidence and ability to transform their book English into conversational English. Eikawas can help in this regard.

All that said, teachers need to be treated better. There is real work to be done, and eikawa teachers should be paid accordingly. When companies are making money there is no excuse for not treating the employees better. By better I mean adequate bonuses for hard work, incentives for doing better, programs that will increase teaching skills, etc. Properly investing in the employee base can only help business. A happy employee is a good employee, and a happy and good employee will always be good for business. I think these eikawa companies forget this. Instead they try to cut corners by not telling teachers they have to pay social insurance, etc. They try to cut on-the-book hours so they can bypass the insurance liability; all the while teachers are really working long hours.

If the government isn’t going to forcefully regulate the industry, then who is? If left up to the eikawas nothing would happen and standards would never get better. More power to the unions on this regard.

Peace

In the NOVA Wake

November 12, 2007 Leave a comment

NOVA Usagi On High, of Crashing From the High?

So NOVA is about to be liquidated, and for many who live outside of Japan you might be asking yourself, “What is NOVA?” Well, it was the largest English conversation school in Japan, and recently due to, in my personal opinion, poor management and lack of proactiveness from the top management core is ruined. It has made a deal with a company called G Communication, which runs a subsidiary company called G Education, to hand over control of the remaining NOVA branch schools. NOVA had over 600 branch schools around Japan, but now G Education will decide whether to open these branches or…? The key thing is that what people knew of NOVA is over, and a new system will eventually be in place. Whether this will help the corporate culture is anyone’s guess.

A few major points to make – 1) Students seem to have been left out to dry as they aren’t really getting fully compensated for lost investments (G Education seems to have skirted around that issue); 2) There is no guarantee that all branches will open as the new management has indicated that it plans to reopen up to 200, and I gather that was if the company sees it necessary/worthwhile; 3) the teachers have been thrown into serious limbo with issues ranging to getting rehired, receiving back salary, and even validity of VISA status, not to mention a slew of other things (where to live among them); 4) and probably the most disturbing point – the lack of government oversight/intervention in such an issue. The Japan government seems paralyzed by this situation. It makes me think, “What if the government officials are protecting his/her own interests?” Japanese government officials wouldn’t be the first to act crookedly and unjust. I for one was hoping for better.

To get a more indepth view of this story check out – LetsJapan.org and JapanEconomyNews.com. LetsJapan.org is more of a blog with a lot of personal rants, still it has good information and English translations of major news stories. JapanEconomyNews.com is the more technical of the two sites and gives great insight from a business point of view. The commentary is really good as well.

Peace My Friends