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