It may be ova for NOVA

20 10 2007

Hilarious pic (by burlydude3) found on Flickr. Usagi, the pink rabbit, was a very popular marketing tool for NOVA whose branches are frequently located near train stations. Marketers came up with the NOVA slogan “ekimae ryūgaku” (study abroad near the train station).

Sadly, NOVA’s train has left.

One of the easiest ways to get into Japan is through NOVA, the largest of the eikaiwa (English-teaching, privately-run companies in Japan).

Basically, what NOVA does is ship dumb schmucks (normally recent college graduates) over to Japan to teach. I heard they aren’t too selective, and they treat you like crap when you get there. But if you need a visa it’s one step better than advertising yourself as a mail-order bride. NOVA is the largest employer of foreign nationals employing some 7,000 foreign workers.

NOVA has had its experience of legal woes, but within recent months trouble in Osaka is leading the chain to cut at least 200 of its 900 branches and creep eva closer to bankruptcy.

In June, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) banned NOVA for six months from signing up new students for long-term contracts. This move came after students complained of illegal false advertising by NOVA. NOVA claims that students can book private lessons at any time when in actuality many students reported not being able to get lessons during busy periods and also not being fully refunded when they had to cancel.

Private language schools by law must give an eight-day cooling-off period since customers signed the contract for them to cancel and get a full refund. However, Nova staff reportedly told some people they were ineligible for refunds because the cooling-off period begins on the day they register.

It’s a no-brainer why students weren’t able to get lessons…there are not enough teachers! NOVA’s turnover rate is so high because of the low-quality of teacher training and poor working conditions. NOVA practically has to hire half of its staff of foreign teachers each year.

Now teacher unions are protesting as many employees have been paid late and have received eviction warnings form NOVA-managed housing.

Here’s some footage from JapanProbe on the workers’ strike.

Nova posted a ¥4.5 billion operating loss over the April-June period before it was ordered to halt business.

There are numerous stories on the NOVA downfall on Japanese news sites. Here are some reads I recommend for more details:

Let’s Japan.org = cool blog about the NOVA situation with updated news stories

“Is it all over for NOVA?”

“Bloodsport”

“NOVA dealt penalty for deception”

“The Law Doesn’t Matter? Interview with Kara Harris”

“NOVA may close hundreds of schools”

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5 responses

20 10 2007
Max

I could seriously use a few good writers like yourself in my network at apsense. Maybe to help get some of the people motivated. Help to teach others and to learn a few things as well. It’s completely free in case you’re wondering. I could really use any people that are motivated, know anything about business, and people willing to try and write quality content.

If you’re up for learning some new things, and making some money doing it.
Join me at http://www.apsense.com/invite/sc4rr3dr4v3n

21 10 2007
carolandes

Informative post! A few of my friends have been looking at going to Asia to teach English post-graduation. I’ll have to pass this warning on to them. I appreciate the links at the end.

22 10 2007
kdryhurst

Could you maybe link to some info on this NOVA thing like their web site or something? Also, is it really tough to get a visa in Japan as an American? I’m thinking about teaching English after college but haven’t thought about Asia.

22 10 2007
stnt

At the bottom of the post there are a bunch of links to articles and other resources. Let’s Japan.org is a good resource if you want an inside scoop about what’s going on in the eikaiwa world. I can link to NOVA’s Web site as well, but I’m not sure how helpful that will be. There are other eikaiwa (check my “common terms” page). The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme is also popular. This is a government-run program. I have a friend in it and he seems to be enjoying it, but I have also heard horror stories. You can check out the Web site here.

If you want to know about getting a visa I recommend that you read Danny Choo’s post about working in Japan. I find his blog to be extremely helpful. Click here for the post.

Hope this helps!

22 10 2007
therealcarolina

What kind of legal woes is NOVA in?

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