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January 06, 2005

New Tokyo Uni. to Use Berlitz Teachers

The new Tokyo Metropolitan University will hire English conversation teachers from Berlitz Japan to teach half of its compulsory English classes. The move was described as being aimed at having native speakers in the classroom, but it is seen as a result of an inability to coordinate the curriculum in line with employment regulations for part-time teachers. With only three months before the new school opens, textbooks and other curricular decisions have been left to Berlitz, which was chosen from five bidding companies. The decision has been criticized as buck-passing and irresponsible.

The outsourcing applies to one of two weekly "Jisen Eigo" (practical English) periods to be taken by the 75 freshman classes. The class will teach basic communication for self-introduction, and e-mail and other writing skills.

The university is not allowed to issue instructions directly with the dispatched teachers, as doing so would be in violation of labor laws. Teachers will be kept separated from regular university staff. Similar regulations apply to other work seconded by the metropolitan government, but such work is in areas like maintenance and security. Critics say that regulations, such as the one that will limit teacher-student contact time to one hour after lessons, are not conducive to a learning environment.
Story in Japanese (Asahi.com)
Tokyo Metropolitan University web site (Japanese)

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