Fukuoka's 'guest teachers' of English outstay their welcome
Japan Times -- Jul 05
This spring, the Fukuoka Board of Education suddenly informed the 120 "guest teachers" responsible for its elementary school English classes that they were no longer welcome.

According to a Fukuoka BOE spokesperson, with English becoming a required class in grades five and six throughout Japan by 2020, the city was switching to what it calls "native speaker" teachers (NTs) "for the purpose of enriching the classes and improving the teaching ability of teachers."

"Daniel," a 10-year veteran guest teacher (GT) at several Fukuoka elementary schools, says he didn't find out about losing his classes until about a month before the end of the academic year. Daniel didn't want his real name used because he still teaches a small number of classes in grades three and four.

Under the GT system, Fukuoka elementary schools directly hired their English teachers. The 120 teachers were a mixture of native English speakers and Japanese fluent in English. They also had varying degrees of teaching experience. But Daniel says most of the time he taught alone, with the homeroom teacher observing.

Upon receiving the news, Daniel describes feeling "shock and anger."

"It was as if the years I'd been there meant nothing," he says, "but it seems the city had no idea what was going on in the schools entirely, nor the actual consequences of their decisions." Daniel says he lost his main source of income when he was dropped from the 13 classes a week he taught at three schools. Another teacher told the Nishinippon Shimbun, which broke the story May 17, he had been earning ¥3 million a year teaching at least 15 classes a week at three schools.

According to Chris Flynn of the Fukuoka General Union, 10 affected teachers contacted him, all long-term foreign residents of Japan, and the job was the main source of income for at least five of them.

Daniel ended up accepting an offer to teach English to grades three and four, but he had to take a 25 percent cut in hourly pay and now only teaches 12 to 15 days per year, depending on the school.

News source: Japan Times
Nov 15
Japan will help countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations groom 80,000 manufacturing and digital industry specialists over five years, part of a broader effort by Tokyo toward cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. (Nikkei)
Nov 08
Tokyo Medical University will admit applicants who were rejected in 2017 and 2018 due to a rigged admission process, if they still wish to attend the school, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Nov 07
Suicides by Japanese youth have reached a 30-year-high, the education ministry said on Monday, even as overall suicide numbers have steadily declined over the past 15 years. (Japan Today)
Oct 31
Teachers and officials at elementary, junior high and high schools across Japan are working more than 11 hours per day on average, raising concern about serious health repercussions or even deaths, a government survey showed Tuesday. (Kyodo)
Oct 30
A group of women is demanding that Tokyo Medical University refund their entrance exam fees and pay damages for their unfair treatment. (NHK)
Oct 29
A girl injured a teacher when she leaped from a school building in Okayama City last week in an apparent suicide attempt, local authorities said, reports TV Asahi (tokyoreporter.com)
Oct 26
A government survey has found that more than 410,000 cases of bullying were reported at schools in Japan during the 2017 academic year that ended in March. The figure was the highest ever. (NHK)
Oct 26
Emmanuel, Stephane, Henrik and James come from very different backgrounds, but they share the same painful experience of battling Japan's legal system - in vain - for access to their children after divorce. (straitstimes.com)
Oct 25
Ten Japanese traditional rituals featuring people in costumes will be put on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list. (NHK)
Oct 25
Women who applied unsuccessfully to Tokyo Medical University intend to demand compensation from the school for manipulating entrance exam results in favor of male applicants and hiding the discriminatory practice, their lawyers said Wednesday. (Japan Times)