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June 30, 2003

JET System Failing

The Daily Yomiuri reported yesterday that the quality of Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) being employed on the JET Program is in decline. Among the factors is an apparent lack of interest in the program English speaking countries, with the number of applicants per position in Canada and the UK falling from 4 to 2, the level in the US for the last five years. According to the report, "Prefectural education board members said that the application ratio was officially set at two-to-one, but that in reality, all applicants were reportedly hired, excluding those who were unqualified and those who turned down the job. 'Because they know they'll be hired if they apply for the job, they don't have any awareness of being selected for the job,' the members said." 90% are new college graduates and many are ill-prepared for teaching large classes. The number of ALTs who quit before the end of their one-year contract is also rising, though this currently accounts for only about 2% of the 5,700 or so ALTs from 20 countries hired last year. The government ministries in charge of the program are said to be considering a performance-based salary system for ALTs rather than the current flat rate decide by each regional authority. Read the original article.

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