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Thread: The Unbiased Truth About Nova

  1. #151
    Just me Glenski's Avatar
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    It is [discrimination]? The same way it's illegal for the police discriminate by doing 'random' ID checks only on foreigners? The same way a real estate agent can simply stop a foreigner at the door and say, 'sorry, we don't have any places that rent to foreigners'. This would also be the discrimination found in Onsens in Hokkaido I would assume.
    Yup, all of those are examples of discrimination. Pretty clear.

    Despite it's legality, it is painfully clear that protection against such practices is non-existant.
    Legality of discrimination? Discrimination is illegal, as evidenced by Japan signing the 1995 anti-discrimination treaty. HOWEVER, as you pointed out, the rub is that Japan has not followed up on that by enacting any laws to put teeth into the treaty. So, yes, there are few, if any, protective practices against discrimination. Not sure what point you were making unless it was related to the next point.
    Nova isn't going to get in trouble to ask it's employees for proof that they're not doing something very illegal.
    Oh, really? How do you know that? They have not done drug testing since the mid-1990s for a reason. The union won a court case against them showing that it was discrimination to test only foreigners. These 2 links show the start of the process.
    http://www.novaunion.com/zet/M3.html
    http://www.novaunion.com/zet/NPS11.html (Ignore the statement in this article that says NOVA is going to have all employees drug tested, not just foreigners. That never happened.)

    Monolake,
    Downplay your degrees. Nod a lot in the interview. Accept their teaching policy and you'll have a better chance of getting a job there, for what it's worth.

    As far as PT hours go, it depends on you how many hours you want to teach.
    Last edited by Glenski; Mar 6, 2007 at 09:09. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  2. #152
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    RE Part time

    Monolake,
    Downplay your degrees. Nod a lot in the interview. Accept their teaching policy and you'll have a better chance of getting a job there, for what it's worth.
    As far as PT hours go, it depends on you how many hours you want to teach.[/QUOTE]

    Glenski,

    Cheers for the advice.

    M

  3. #153
    遠いから行きません GaijinPunch's Avatar
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    My point is that many laws, discrimination being the main one, are rarely, if ever, enforced in Japan.

  4. #154
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senseiman View Post
    I think this is a cut above the run-of-the-mill anti-Nova lawsuit, Usually the government doesn't get involved. Its definitely not the end of the world for NOVA but this time they are getting way more bad publicity and may face administrative action by the government (as opposed to just paying damages to aggrieved clients). I read that NOVA's stock dropped about 14% the day this story came out.
    It isn't the end of the line by any means, although this ruling today by the Japanese Supreme Court today did go against the company and agreed that refund amounts for cancelled contacts were systematically undercalcuated.
    As a result, NOVA has been ordered to compensate the plantiff more than 300,000 yen and will be threatened with a freeze on admitting new students for noncompliance. Anyone know how much their stock price went down the day this ruling was announced ? The publicity is getting more and more damaging. It'll be really interesting to watch the fallout from all this on pending cases as well as NOVA's overall financial health and corporate viability.

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-b...0070404a1.html

  5. #155
    Just me Glenski's Avatar
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    Yeah seriously, WTF is wrong with a drug test?
    Well, how would you feel if only a certain type of people were required to take the drug test? Let's be creative:

    Only people with blue eyes.
    Only people that are left-handed.
    Only people that have a certain blood type.

    Pretty discriminatory, wouldn't you say?

    Ok, now let's talk about the REAL story. The NOVA teachers are the only ones at that company who have the drug testing clause in their contracts. None of the Japanese employees do. DISCRIMINATION.

    THAT'S what's wrong with the drug testing.

  6. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenski View Post
    ...
    Legality of discrimination? Discrimination is illegal, as evidenced by Japan signing the 1995 anti-discrimination treaty. HOWEVER, as you pointed out, the rub is that Japan has not followed up on that by enacting any laws to put teeth into the treaty.
    ...
    Yes, some LDP members and the ruling coalitions have been eager to enact the controversial human right law for years.
    I bet the current gaijin right activists will turn "no more highly controlled society" activists after the enactment.

  7. #157
    Regular Member KirinMan's Avatar
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    Ok, now let's talk about the REAL story. The NOVA teachers are the only ones at that company who have the drug testing clause in their contracts. None of the Japanese employees do. DISCRIMINATION.
    THAT'S what's wrong with the drug testing.
    While I agree that is is discriminatory in theory, it appears to me that the only employees of NOVA to be "caught" using or possessing illegal drugs are it's "foreign" staff. I have not heard of any of their Japanese staff being caught or arrested for breaking the drug laws here in Japan.

    I agree that it should (NOVA) have the same rules for all of it's employees

    Howver, I wonder if for example the coaching staffs of any NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, (sorry for those that are unfamiliar with the acronyms, National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, or National Hockey League), in the US are tested for illegal drugs as well. What about any soccer league? Do they test for illegal drugs? If they do do the staff and administration get tested as well?

    What about the coaching staffs and mangers of any Olympic team? Do they get tested after every event? I doubt it.

    THe NOVA teachers are the "kanban" or sign-board front of the company, they are the "athletes" that make or break the company and when their "stars" go or get out of line it is rather easy to understand the company's position in making "testing" a part of their organization.

    One other thing, any "new" employee of NOVA is notified of this testing procedure before they are hired, so if anyone has a problem with it there is no need for them to accept employment with them.

    I have a hard time with understanding people that know the rules and regulations ahead of being hired and then bitching about them afterwards. If they didn't like it in the first place there was no need for them to accept the job in the first place.
    Last edited by KirinMan; Apr 5, 2007 at 00:43.

  8. #158
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obeika View Post
    One other thing, any "new" employee of NOVA is notified of this testing procedure before they are hired, so if anyone has a problem with it there is no need for them to accept employment with them.

    I have a hard time with understanding people that know the rules and regulations ahead of being hired and then bitching about them afterwards. If they didn't like it in the first place there was no need for them to accept the job in the first place.

    Very well said...It is amazing how common sense is thrown out the window sometimes isn't it!

  9. #159
    Regular Member 名無し's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth View Post
    It isn't the end of the line by any means, although this ruling today by the Japanese Supreme Court today did go against the company and agreed that refund amounts for cancelled contacts were systematically undercalcuated.
    As a result, NOVA has been ordered to compensate the plantiff more than 300,000 yen and will be threatened with a freeze on admitting new students for noncompliance.
    NOVA Dealt Penalty for Deception
    Nova Corp., the nation's largest English-language school chain, was ordered by the government Wednesday to partially suspend business for six months for lying to customers about its services.
    NOVA Barred from Making Long Contracts
    The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said Wednesday it ordered Nova Corp., the nation's largest English language school chain, to suspend for six months its recruitment of customers for new contracts of more than one year or 70 lesson hours, starting Thursday.
    NOVA Handed Suspension Order over Tuition Fee Practices
    Furthermore, when inviting students to take lessons, the company advertised that they could book lessons any time they wanted, but because of the difficulty in securing teachers, it remained difficult to make bookings.
    NOVA's response
    Last edited by 名無し; Jun 14, 2007 at 23:48.

  10. #160
    Cute and Furry Ewok85's Avatar
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    The floodgates open!

    Sooo glad I'm as far away from the English teaching circuit as you can possibly get. I'm hoping for a removal of English as a compulsory topic by 2010.
    Leon - http://www.leonjp.com
    Expat Japan! - http://forums.expatjapan.net
    半ばは自己の幸せを、半ばは他人の幸せを

  11. #161
    Regular Member senseiman's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm glad I got out of English teaching too. I imagine if and when NOVA folds the market will be flooded with teachers.
    祇園精舎の鐘の聲、諸行無常の響 り。娑羅雙樹の花の 色、盛者必衰のことわりを らはす。おごれる人も久し からず、唯春の夜の夢のごとし。たけき者も遂にほろび ぬ、偏に風の前の塵に同じ。

  12. #162
    Regular Member Sukotto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senseiman View Post
    Yeah, I'm glad I got out of English teaching too. I imagine if and when NOVA folds the market will be flooded with teachers.

    I better hurry then,
    since i am philosophically opposed to a college degree (for myself, even
    though i am like 2/3 through),
    it might be my last best chance to be able to live there for a while.

    I know all private English language schools, including NOVA, have a policy
    of hiring teachers only with a 4 year college degree, but I've read stuff
    in internet/rumor land that one might be able to work part-time.
    Then with over time make up the difference for survival.
    check out this awesome shirt.
    If You're Really a Goth, Where Were You When We Sacked Rome?
    no, i got nothing against goths. just think the shirt is neat.

  13. #163
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sukotto View Post
    I better hurry then,
    since i am philosophically opposed to a college degree (for myself, even
    though i am like 2/3 through),
    it might be my last best chance to be able to live there for a while.
    I know all private English language schools, including NOVA, have a policy
    of hiring teachers only with a 4 year college degree, but I've read stuff
    in internet/rumor land that one might be able to work part-time.
    Then with over time make up the difference for survival.
    If you get more interested in the language, going over for a year of study would be another option. It may be prohibitively expensive and even less flexible in terms of eligibility, but there's always the possibility of looking for a teaching position or other PT work within the confines of a roof over your head and a guaranteed meal or two a day.

    If the Japanese government does not come to NOVA's rescue in the next several months and it is either 'allowed' to shut down or goes through a major downsizing I'd say in the short term it's a total waste of time to apply without a degree. More reputable eikaiwas would likely start raising their standards by requiring MAs or TEFL degrees at the same time they're lowering salaries, increasing hours and letting go of older teachers to take advantage of the supply/demand imbalance.

    Over the longer term of course NOVA could go under and come back under a different name or a variety of smaller, equally suspect, if not shadier, firms could spring up to absorb the glut. Then you'd absolutely have to burn the midnight oil to make up any difference.

    It'll be really interesting to see how this all plays out by the end of the year.

  14. #164
    Regular Member senseiman's Avatar
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    Why on earth would you be philosophically opposed to a degree? Its a tool that you can use to get the type of job in Japan that you want, if you can get one then go for it, otherwise your options are pretty limited.

    The main problem for you is that the normal avenue for non-degree holders, the working holiday visa, isn't available to Americans. I say go finish that 1/3 of the degree you've got left.

    Also, about that "4 year degree" requirement, if you've got a 3 year degree then they'll still take you. I had a 3 year undergraduate degree from a Canadian university and I was hired by both GEOS and AEON despite that fact without any trouble.

  15. #165
    Cute and Furry Ewok85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senseiman View Post
    Yeah, I'm glad I got out of English teaching too. I imagine if and when NOVA folds the market will be flooded with teachers.
    But these people aren't "teachers" - working in an eikaiwa using fixed lessons based on textbooks with classes of 3 or less people, a vast majority of these people have not studied education or have any qualifications in education.

    If anything it will flood the market with untrained and on the whole inexperienced (as the majority of NOVA people that I know are fresh graduates) foreigners - some of which will find work as ALT's, but those who are doing what I consider "serious" teaching (ie. direct hire) won't be bothered.

    But then there is always the question of will the employers care? Would they rather someone who is educated, trained and experienced as a teacher of ESL, or someone who will work for less but doesn't have the same experience? Money is a factor too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sukotto View Post
    but I've read stuff in internet/rumor land
    Not a rumour - a fact. To be able to work more than one year (if you are British, Canadian, Australian) you need to have completed a degree from a registered college or university. And its not NOVA's choice, its the governments order.

    Quote Originally Posted by senseiman View Post
    Why on earth would you be philosophically opposed to a degree? Its a tool that you can use to get the type of job in Japan that you want, if you can get one then go for it, otherwise your options are pretty limited.
    I am not the greatest advocate of tertiary education either. For example I only went to University for one year, completed the most advanced Japanese course available.... then quit. There was nothing left for me. Meanwhile I was expected to study, and pay a fair amount too, so I would have enough "credit" to be able to study and pay for more subjects I have no interest in, etc. I also did a computer science course, found it to be total dribble, was denied being allowed to study 2nd year material, so refused to go to lectures and only turned up for the exam.

    I know plenty of CS graduates, most of which don't have any real world experience at using a computer, and just have theory that in the real world is pretty much useless unless you want to go back and teach CS. They would be better off just making them read technical whitepapers than the stuff they already teach.

  16. #166
    Regular Member KirinMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ewok85 View Post
    . I'm hoping for a removal of English as a compulsory topic by 2010.
    Never happen in fact it will most likely become a compulsory subject in ALL elementary schools here in Japan maybe by that time.

    NOVA exists because of the failings of the current way of teaching compulsory English. What I would rather see is NOVA disappear along with all the rest of the "eikaiwa's", which wont happen either I'm afraid.

    Even if NOVA folds someone somewhere here will step up and fill in their shoes.

  17. #167
    Regular Member Sukotto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ewok85 View Post
    Not a rumour - a fact. To be able to work more than one year (if you are British, Canadian, Australian) you need to have completed a degree from a registered college or university. And its not NOVA's choice, its the governments order.

    I meant a rumor that one might be able to get on at NOVA w/out the degree.

    I've heard it was gov't law for any gov't run institution for 4yr college degree requirement.
    But I did not know it was law for private run institutions. I just
    thought it was their policy.

  18. #168
    Master of the Universe Bucko's Avatar
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    I'm so glad I got out when I did. Getting that final pay cheque last month was a big relief, now all I have to worry about are my friends that are still there. Poor buggers. English teaching in Japan is such a joke. Now that I'm actually at a properly managed, legitimate Japanese language school with properly qualified teachers, I look back to the "English teaching" days as something of a complete sham. Teachers who get very little training, teachers who hardly understand the workings of English, let alone being able to teach it, students who don't question or challenge you, it's just a joke. I don't know why they make students learn English at school for four years. Language is a thing that takes years upon years to learn. Either make English a subject compulsary from the first grade of school, or get rid of it completely.

  19. #169
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    If anything it will flood the market with untrained and on the whole inexperienced (as the majority of NOVA people that I know are fresh graduates) foreigners - some of which will find work as ALT's, but those who are doing what I consider "serious" teaching (ie. direct hire) won't be bothered.
    I imagine quite a lot of these NOVA folks -- particularly the younger, fresher inexperienced graduates at the bottom end -- will simply end up leaving Japan if their branch closes. Their only other competitive options may be to wait around for one of the other large eikaiwas to expand or work for bottom rock wages at a startup. And there will almost certainly be greater govt. regulation and oversight of anyone that comes up to fill the hole than there has been on the industry until this point.

    Although I personally rather suspect the company isn't going anywhere in the short term, and that a much smaller, leaner, hopefully nicer , more student-oriented NOVA will still be around in some form come next January. Whether it will still be under the same management, recruiting out of its overseas offices, hiring at all for that matter, and how many of its some 500,000 students will be looking for another teacher are the real acid test questions we'll all be looking to guage and endlessly analyze over the next few weeks and months.

  20. #170
    Villain Iron Chef's Avatar
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    It's amusing to read some of these replies... I take myself and my craft seriously. I've been self-employed and owner/operator of my own language school for a couple years now. And I am very successful at it. In fact, I have turned away students and new contracts now for the last six months simply because there aren't enough hours in the day for me anymore.

    Anybody can call themselves an "English teacher" but the ones who willingly dedicate their time and patience to commit themselves to helping a student progress are few and far between. NOVA dropped the ball on that one. Like most of the major eikawa, it was all about the signups. Getting them into the system was/is their only real priority. Student care and aggressively helping students to achieve the goals they set out for themselves fell along the wayside.

    Oh well, more business for me I suppose should I choose to take it up lol. If I told you the number of current eikawa branch school managers and teachers I teach atm (NOVA, AEON, GEOS, ECC, etc.) as my own students you'd all be surprised... Guess it just shows that even the company employees don't have faith in their own system anymore.

    Expect to see more entrepreneurs like myself stepping up to fill in the void. I don't do contracts with students, I let them pay me monthly on the same day every month or they can opt for a pay-as-you-go rate per lesson/class. There are no extra fees or additional charges tacked on. EVER. There is no penalty for makeups or having to cancel a class (with reasonable notice). And there are no stipulations or penalties about deciding to leave should the student feel dissatisfied with their progress/instruction for whatever reason. In other words, I do everything NOVA doesn't.

  21. #171
    Cute and Furry Ewok85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sukotto View Post
    I meant a rumor that one might be able to get on at NOVA w/out the degree.
    I've heard it was gov't law for any gov't run institution for 4yr college degree requirement.
    But I did not know it was law for private run institutions. I just
    thought it was their policy.
    It hasn't got the slightest thing to do with the company - its all about immigration. No degree, no work visa. No work visa - no work.

  22. #172
    継続は力なり bakaKanadajin's Avatar
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    The CEO said he wasn't thinking about stepping down. He may not be under any heat to do so yet, but who knows, the media and executives are old hands at the attack and save-face game. He may be packing up his bearer bonds and heading for the back door as I type this, you just can't tell.

    I don't think the market for Eikaiwas is necessarily going anywhere. It's not as if thousands of really busy people have time to undertake a serious curriculum and start seeing a private teacher. The whole concept of being able to sign into a class and practice what you already know or just keep up your skills is still desirable.

    It's a trade-off though, if you want convenient lessons (let's say Nova's anytime/anywhere policy did work) what degree of personalization could you expect if you were seeing a different teacher all the time and coming in last minute? Many times I've planned a lesson to the T only to have some bloody sign-in who's already done the lesson screw everything up. All my quick-thinking goes out the window and I have to do something less interesting to accomodate this individual who can't commit to a schedule in advance.

    NOVA has to do a lot to improve its customer service first of all, and then its curriculum and teaching standards, etc. but I think sometimes the whole concept of some Japanese people taking English as a hobby and 'accessorizing' their life with it also plays a role in creating the problems. Learning is a serious undertaking that requires home-study and practice, many students at Eikaiwas don't do this.

  23. #173
    Villain Iron Chef's Avatar
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    Learning is a serious undertaking that requires home-study and practice, many students at Eikaiwas don't do this.
    Amen to that. Serious students have to take it upon themselves and abandon the notion that no matter how much they pay, going once or twice a week for 50 minutes at a time to learn English but then leaving it at the door when you leave will get you nowhere. At any rate, NOVA will have some to spin some serious damage control I suspect. Will be interesting to see how they deal with the fallout of the decision against them.

  24. #174
    Regular Member senseiman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Chef View Post
    It's amusing to read some of these replies... I take myself and my craft seriously. I've been self-employed and owner/operator of my own language school for a couple years now. And I am very successful at it. In fact, I have turned away students and new contracts now for the last six months simply because there aren't enough hours in the day for me anymore.
    Anybody can call themselves an "English teacher" but the ones who willingly dedicate their time and patience to commit themselves to helping a student progress are few and far between. NOVA dropped the ball on that one. Like most of the major eikawa, it was all about the signups. Getting them into the system was/is their only real priority. Student care and aggressively helping students to achieve the goals they set out for themselves fell along the wayside.
    Oh well, more business for me I suppose should I choose to take it up lol. If I told you the number of current eikawa branch school managers and teachers I teach atm (NOVA, AEON, GEOS, ECC, etc.) as my own students you'd all be surprised... Guess it just shows that even the company employees don't have faith in their own system anymore.
    Expect to see more entrepreneurs like myself stepping up to fill in the void. I don't do contracts with students, I let them pay me monthly on the same day every month or they can opt for a pay-as-you-go rate per lesson/class. There are no extra fees or additional charges tacked on. EVER. There is no penalty for makeups or having to cancel a class (with reasonable notice). And there are no stipulations or penalties about deciding to leave should the student feel dissatisfied with their progress/instruction for whatever reason. In other words, I do everything NOVA doesn't.

    That is awesome. I spent a couple of years doing pretty much the exact same thing, ie teaching students on my own out of my apartment. I don't know if I would call it a "school", though we did have an room set up as a class. Like you I only charged students monthly and never had any formal contracts. It worked out great for me too, it was the best time I had in Japan.

    You seem to view the (potential) collapse of NOVA as a good thing. I don't think it is a good thing for the private operator though. I always thought it was useful to have the big schools around because you could easily undercut their prices (which are outrageous) while offering even better service. They serve a pretty useful function in creating demand for English lessons (through their marketing, etc) and in soaking up teachers (I note that some object to the use of that word to describe NOVA employees but I find that attitude a bit condescending).

    If NOVA goes under the market will be flooded by teachers. This will probably have a lot of consequences for the small operator, who may face more competition from ex-NOVA teachers. Unlike competing with NOVA itself, which charges ludicrous rates, these teachers will offer private lessons at a reasonable rate.

    Of course, the other effect of a NOVA collapse will be a bunch of students without a school. The problem though is that a lot of those students probably won't just go to another English school, but will just quit altogether. A lot of them were probably just brought into English lessons by the NOVA marketing machine and, without that, they'll probably loose their interest.

    So the bottom line will be less demand for English lessons with more English teachers offering lessons for lower prices. Thats a tough market.

  25. #175
    Master of the Universe Bucko's Avatar
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    I've never quite understood the whole "I want to study English conversation" thing. Surely a well rounded process of grammar, vocab, plus speaking practice is much better overall than the rubbish people learn at "conversation schools". I saw so many students over the years who complain that their grammar, spelling, writing, well, pretty much everything, was bad. "It's no wonder" I thought, you come here and repeat a few lame situational phrases from a monkey, and you expect to be learning?

    Seriously, without bragging, I've been studying Japanese for two and a half years, and I'm pretty sure that my ability in every single area, except for maybe vocab, is better than many of the "high level" students at Nova, who have been "studying" English for 5, 10 years plus.

    I've just recently heard the phrase "English fetish", which might be part of the reason. I.e., it's not important to be able to communicate properly, or even really learn the language. The primary goal is to be able to coin up some random phrases to satisfy some weird desire to, well, be able to coin up random phrases. In fact, if 95% of all English schools were shut down then the country would still function with no problem. I laugh when I hear reasons like "because English is the global language". Haha, like that's their (maybe 80% of "student's") real reason. 80% of the people studying English in Japan (which is like 5% of the population or something) don't need English. If they did then there wouldn't be so many bad students, and they'd realise they're not learning it properly and demand higher quality lessons, higher quality content etc so that they actually COULD get access to English information sources. No, their true reason is to fulfill that weird fetish to be able to speak a few random, useless phrases, maybe to look cool or intelligent or something.

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