Japan Consul Kinji Shinoda recently promoted the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, which seeks to lure English language teachers to Japan.
Speaking to members of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce at its general meeting last Sept. 6 at Kanoa Resort in Susupe, the current trend among the younger generation is the lack of interest to study the English language abroad.
“Before, the older generation’s interest was to go abroad to study and learn English especially during the time when Japan was still a developing nation, [when life] was uncomfortable.”
“Today, Japan is well developed. The younger generation would rather stay, live, and study in Japan instead of going abroad. So many young ones stay and the number of Japanese students abroad is decreasing,” Shinoda added.
He lamented this development, saying that English is a very important tool both in communicating and understanding “each other and that is why JET is very important.”
“The JET Programme aims to promote grass roots ‘internationalization’ at the local level. The program has grown significantly for the past 30 years. The number of participating countries has grown from four to 44 and the number of participants from 848 to 5,163 as of 2017.”
The program invites college graduates from around the world to participate in international exchange work and be involved in foreign language education at Japan’s local government offices, board of education, elementary schools, and junior and senior high schools.
According to Shinoda, the positions that the JET program intends to fill are assistant language teachers and coordinator for international relations.
“The ALT will be placed mainly in public schools or local boards of education. ALTs assist with classes taught by Japanese teachers and will be involved in the preparation of teaching materials and in extracurricular activities like English clubs or sports teams.”
“CIR applicants with a functional command of the Japanese language can apply to work as CIRs, assisting local government offices in international exchange activities at the local level. The job entails interpreting for government officials, teaching community or school English classes and international exchange event planning and implementation,” he added.
More than 90 percent of JET participants are employed as ALTS and under 10 percent of JET participants are employed as CIRs. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or obtain such qualification by July 15, 2018.
Shinoda said, “Successful applicants receive a one-year term of appointment with a contracting organization in Japan and can renew the contract up to five years.”
For applicants who are residing on Saipan and in Guam, recruitment and selection of participants is conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Consulate-General of Japan in Hagatna.