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Classroom Confidential

Stories from inside the classroom

The GEOS Fallout Begins

If you saw the GEOS press conference on TV this evening, one thing was very conspicuous by its absence: Kusunoki wasn't there. In his place was Kazumi Suhara giving the bad news.

According to the Jiji Press, Kusunoki didn't attend because he wasn't prepared to file for bankruptcy while some of his executives were. A GEOS lawyer at the press conference said that due to divisions within the company, bankruptcy proceedings went ahead without the consensus of the board.

Japan: 

GEOS Goes Bankrupt

Add GEOS to the list of eikaiwas that have gone bankrupt. GEOS filed for bankruptcy today, temporarily closing its schools until the 23rd when G.communication, the company that picked up the scraps when NOVA went bankrupt in 2007, will take over part of GEOS's business.

GEOS will close 99 schools (PDF), while keeping 170 schools and 66 GEOS kids (PDF) schools in operation.

Japan: 

Chiba ALT Conracts Deemed to be Illegal

Whoever wrote The ALT Scam on the Fukuoka General Union blog is probably feeling vindicated right now. The Mainichi Daily News reports:

Public schools here [Kashiwa, Chiba] have been unable to start their native speaker-taught English classes this school year after the city's board of education was accused of violating labor laws with foreign language teachers.

The Problem With Dispatch ALT Jobs

The Fukuoka General Union has a long read titled The ALT Scam that points out the problems with BOEs outsourcing ALT jobs.

The main points are:

The End of ALTs

Forget about the popularity of eikaiwa online, it's iPods for everyone!

An elementary school in Wakayama has recently had an open English-language lesson using iPod Touch, with students watching video images of a native speaker on the small display of the digital handset.

Japan: 

Japan Today Series on Eikaiwa

Japan Today has started a regular series on the state of the language school industry, in particular eikaiwa, written by Dean Rogers, president and CEO of Dean Morgan Co Ltd, the school that sounds like an investment company.

Guideline 8 to be Deleted

Good news if you're worried about the possibility of your visa renewal being denied due to your lack of national health insurance coverage:

The Immigration Bureau is planning to change a new guideline for foreign residents to ease concerns that those without social insurance will be forced to choose between losing their visa and entering the insurance system, a bureau official said Monday.

[...]

GEOS Tries to Spin Bad Press

Back in September, The Japan Times interviewed Susumu Ikegami, a spokesman for Geos, and asked him about the eikaiwa market. To no surprise, he said business was down but for some reason could not explain why.

A Closer Look at Free Choice

I'm late talking about this, but it's worth noting given Hoofin's recent comments on freechoice.jp and health insurance in Japan. After I was asked to take down a letter from a private insurance provider that I posted here, Hoofin went out and did some digging, and came up with a lot of interesting stuff.

The Rise of Eikaiwa Online

At this time last year, with Nova gone, LJers in the forums were talking about how Skype and lessons online would be the future of eikaiwa. A year to the day that thread was started, J-cast News ran a story on the rapid growth of eikaiwa lessons online. The article reads more like an advertisement than a piece of journalism as it only focuses on three very new online schools, so it's difficult to gauge the popularity or success of online eikaiwa.

Japan: 

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