JET Programme

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This article is about the Japanese government initiative. For the Joint European Torus, see Joint European Torus.
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The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (語学指導等を行う外国青年招致事業 Gogaku Shidōtō o Okonau Gaikoku Seinen Shōchi Jigyō?) or JET Programme (JETプログラム Jetto Puroguramu?) is a Japanese government initiative that brings college (university) graduates—mostly native speakers of English—to Japan as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) and Sports Education Advisors (SEAs) in Japanese kindergartens, elementary, junior high and high schools, or as Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) in local governments and boards of education. JET Programme participants are collectively called JETs.

Participants currently come from a total of 40 countries. As of July 1, 2012, 4,360 participants[1] (in CIR, ALT, and SEA positions) were employed on the programme, making it the world's largest exchange teaching programme. Of that number, about half are from the United States (2,334), with Canada (477), the United Kingdom (432), Australia (262), New Zealand (248), Ireland (107), and South Africa (105) making up the majority of ALTs. The majority of CIRs on the programme come from the United States (102), China (78), and Korea.[1] Holders of Japanese passports may participate in the programme, but must renounce their Japanese citizenship to do so. The focus of the program is on English language learning and teaching, so about 90% of the participants on the programme are ALTs; the remaining 10% are divided between CIRs and SEAs. The number of alumni totals over 57,000 from 54 different countries.[2]

History and aims of the programme[edit]

The English Teaching Recruitment Programme was started in 1978 and initially was exclusively for British university graduates. This programme became known as the "British English Teachers Scheme." American teaching assistants were added under the "Mombusho English Fellows Program" beginning in 1977. As more countries were included, the programmes were folded into a single entity, the JET Programme, in 1987. It offers university graduates positions for full-time jobs as either an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in elementary and secondary schools or a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) in selected local government offices in Japan. Its aims were revised to "increase mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the people of other nations, to promote internationalisation in Japan's local communities by helping to improve foreign language education, and to develop international exchange at the community level." The total number of JET participants steadily decreased from a high of 6,273 in 2002 down to a low of 4,330 in 2011 before stabilizing.[3]

Administrative details[edit]

The programme is run by three ministries: the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in conjunction with local authorities. The programme is administered by CLAIR (the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations), and has an annual budget of over 45 billion yen (US$400 million).[4][5]

There is an organization called The Association of Japan Exchange and Teaching (AJET), that provides support for the Programme participants[6] and facilitates communication with the JET Programme sponsors.[7] AJET organises events and has a number of publications to assist with teaching in Japan. Some notable publications include Planet Eigo (replacement for Team Taught Pizza[8]) and Foxy Phonics.[8]

Application process[edit]

  1. Applicants must:
    • hold a Bachelor's degree (in any subject);
    • be a citizen of the country where the recruitment and selection procedures take place;
    • have excellent skills in the designated language (both written and spoken). (English or for non-English speaking countries English or the principal language);
    • have a keen interest in the country and culture of Japan;
    • not have lived in Japan for 6 or more years after 2000, nor be a former participant in the programme after 2007.[9][10]
  2. Prospective participants must submit a detailed application including a statement of purpose and self-reported medical form, usually in November or December of the year before their departure.
  3. Those who pass stage one of the process are invited to interviews which are conducted in major cities, usually in February. Although applications are accepted from people living in Japan, there are no interviews offered in-country. Applicants must interview in their home country. Interviews are conducted in English or in the language of applicant's country, but part of the interview will be conducted in Japanese if the applicant indicated Japanese ability on their application, or if they are a CIR applicant. The interview is normally conducted by a panel of three people, consisting of former JETs and members of Japanese government, embassy, and consulate organizations. The interviews last approximately 20 minutes.[11] Interviewees are then offered a position, rejected, or become "Alternates" (who may participate if positions become available).
  4. Once offered a position, applicants must formally submit their acceptance or rejection of the offer. In addition, they must provide the results of a recent physical examination, performed by a physician within the last three months. Finally, they must submit detailed contact information so that the programme can send them materials and information as the departure date draws nearer.
  5. Participants usually learn of their placement details during May through July just before their departure date of very late July (Group A) or very early August (Group B). Alternates may receive very short notice, sometimes only a few weeks, if a placement becomes available. A small group of alternates usually arrives together in late August (Group C) and other individual alternates arrive at other times throughout the fall. It should be noted that applicants who withdraw from the program after receiving placement notification are ineligible to reapply the following year. Applicants are required to depart in a group from the city in which they were interviewed, although rare exceptions are made. This is usually the Japanese embassy or consulate that serves the applicant's home town, though it could theoretically be any site in the same country that the applicant submits on his or her application. Air fares are arranged by the programme.[12]

Participants are also required to attend pre-departure and post-arrival orientations as well as annual mid-year conferences, and may attend a returnee conference during their tenure.[13]

Participants are placed with a local authority in Japan (the Contracting Organization) which is the employer. There are 47 prefectural governments and 12 city governments, as well as numerous individual city, town and village governments and some private schools designated as Contracting Organisations. While applicants can specify up to three preferred locations, and can request urban, semi-rural or rural placements, they may be placed anywhere in Japan, and placements may not match requests.[14][15]

Participants sign a one-year contract, which can be renewed up to four times, for a maximum of five years. Some contracting organizations offer the option of contracting for a total of five years, although some prohibit contracting beyond three years. Before 2006, participants could only contract for up to three years, with the exception of a few positions.[16]

Participants who began their tenure on the program in 2011 or earlier received a salary of ¥3,600,000 per year after tax.[17] Participants beginning in 2012 or later are paid on a new salary scale: "3.36 million yen for the first appointment, 3.6 million yen for the second appointment, 3.9 million yen for the third appointment, and for those appointed for a fourth and fifth year, 3.96 million yen for each year." Additionally, this salary is pre-tax (as opposed to post-tax prior to 2011), so participants who are liable for income or residential taxes in Japan must pay taxes.[17]

Participants receive paid airfare to and from Japan paid by the Japanese government, and may receive other benefits such as housing subsidies. Participants are generally forbidden to take paid work outside of their Programme duties.[18]

Assistant Language Teacher responsibilities[edit]

- Assisting English classes taught by Japanese Teachers of English in junior and senior high schools.

- Assisting with English language training activities at primary/elementary schools

- Assisting in the preparation of materials for English language teaching

- Assisting in the language training of Japanese Teachers of English

- Assisting in organizing, coordinating and preparing activities for extracurricular activities and clubs

- Providing information on language and other related subjects to Teachers' Consultants and Japanese Teachers of English (e.g. word usage, pronunciations, etc.)

- Assisting in English Language speech contests. - Engaging in local international exchange activities.

Participation[edit]

Number of participants by country and year - as of 1 July 2012[19]
Year United States United Kingdom Australia New Zealand Canada Ireland others Total
1987 592 150 83 23 0 0 0 848
1988 871 248 143 34 127 20 0 1,443
1989 1,090 370 146 43 290 36 12 1,336
1990 1,249 396 145 71 366 121 16 2,284
1991 1,545 488 142 130 488 45 36 2,874
1992 1,710 596 182 165 586 44 42 3,325
1993 1,898 686 219 198 656 59 69 3,785
1994 2,180 729 242 200 685 60 89 4,185
1995 2,411 819 274 201 723 69 132 4,629
1996 2,599 920 299 213 761 72 169 5,033
1997 2,583 1,033 338 225 854 88 226 5,347
1998 2,613 1,128 355 255 873 93 360 5,677
1999 2,560 1,183 407 306 900 95 374 5,825
2000 2,514 1,320 417 370 998 99 360 6,078
2001 2,477 1,405 417 371 1,057 95 368 6,190
2002 2,669 1,287 447 397 991 99 383 6,273
2003 2,729 1,215 438 375 981 109 379 6,226
2004 2,841 1,060 431 345 894 132 400 6,103
2005 2,873 916 420 320 778 121 425 5,853
2006 2,879 717 387 284 685 114 442 5,508
2007 2,808 577 316 242 618 95 483 5,119
2008 2,681 440 287 208 529 78 459 4,682
2009 2,537 390 272 194 481 96 466 4,436
2010 2,420 399 254 206 474 112 469 4,334
2011 2,332 440 265 226 487 103 487 4,330
2012 2,334 432 262 248 477 107 500 4,360

This table shows the number of participants per year, per country. The number includes both new participants and participants who are continuing for another year (recontracting participants).

Appointment renewal[edit]

Some JETs elect to stay for the maximum number of consecutive appointments - a sum of four renewal cycles (from 2007–2008) for a total of five years maximum ALT/CIR experience.[20]

Developments[edit]

Some JET participants in recent years have been placed in elementary schools, reflecting MEXT's plan to raise the English ability of Japanese students. Some contracting organizations go further and have ALTs periodically work with kindergarten students teaching basic English vocabulary through games and activities. This also brings them exposure to non-Japanese people. Participants occasionally also teach in special schools.

Several prefectures have opted out of the JET Programme in recent years. Some hire individuals directly through advertising or word of recommendation while others use an intermediary dispatch company - usually one of the big English schools such as Heart, Interac, or Altia.[21][22] While direct-hired employees may obtain working conditions similar to the JET Programme, those employed by dispatch companies often have very different working contracts—unpaid holidays or pay-by-the-day contracts are not uncommon. Some dispatch methods used by certain Boards of Education have even been declared illegal by Japanese labor standards authorities (see Assistant Language Teacher).[citation needed]

From 2007, the possible stay for some JET participants was extended from three years to five years, subject to certain stipulations. JET participants in their third year are able to re-contract two more times if their work performance, accomplishments and abilities are deemed outstanding by their contracting organization.[23] However, as in most JET matters, the application process is decided upon by the individual contracting organization.

From 2009, it became possible to apply for an April start.[24] This option does not exclude the applicant from being considered from the traditional August start. Successful applicants starting in April are notified in early March (this notice includes their placement). The April start is in line with the start of the Japanese school year.

Since 1998, the Hong Kong government has operated a similar program, known as the Native English-speaking Teacher scheme, which employs about 800 teachers. Korea has also implemented a similar program called EPIK (English Program in Korea).[25]

In May 2010, the JET programme came up for review by the Government Revitalization Unit, the jigyōshiwake budget review panel, due to the need to cut costs given the state of the economy of Japan.[26] However, the subsequent LDP administration of Shinzo Abe in fact announced its likely expansion.[27]

In February 2012, The Japan Times alleged that one contracting Board of Education had fraudulently deducted payments from JET participants and harassed whistle-blowers of the practice.[28]

Notable former participants[edit]

  • Michael Auslin, American academic, historian, Japanologist[29]
  • Anthony Bianchi (1989–91), American politician, council member at Inuyama City, Japan[30]
  • Don Brown, New Zealand, Japanese film subtitler and translator[31]
  • Rob Cornilles (1988–1989), American politician[32]
  • Bruce Feiler, American writer and TV host, author of Learning to Bow
  • Will Ferguson, Canadian writer, author of Hitching Rides with Buddha (a.k.a. Hokkaido Highway Blues)
  • Michael Green, American political expert and Japanologist[29]
  • Karl Taro Greenfeld, American journalist and writer, author of Speed Tribes[33]
  • Daneeta Loretta Jackson, American writer, filmmaker and creative producer at the Elektrik Zoo[34]
  • Suzanne Kamata, American author and editor of Literary Mama
  • Ari Kaplan, American writer, speaker and coach, author of Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace[35]
  • James Kennedy (2004–06), American author of The Order of Odd-Fish
  • Roland Kelts (1998–99), American journalist and writer, author of Japanamerica
  • Jan Logie, New Zealand, politician
  • Yuri Lowenthal, American actor
  • Lars Martinson, American cartoonist
  • Plant Maynard, Canadian musician, member and founder of Monkey Majik
  • Stacy Perman, American journalist and writer, author of A Grand Complication: The Race to Build the World’s Most Legendary Watch
  • Dan Seals(1993–95), American politician
  • Brad Warner, Soto Zen Buddhist monk, musician, and author of Hardcore Zen
  • Malena Watrous (1998–2000), American writer[36]
  • Mark Williams, British academic, Japanologist[37]
  • Aaron Woolfolk, American film director, screenwriter and producer

See also[edit]

  • O-yatoi gaikokujin, foreign consultants hired by the Japanese government in the late 19th century

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Participants Publications: As of July 1, 2012". 
  2. ^ "JET Programme History". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "History - The JET Programme (as of July 1, 2011)". 
  4. ^ "JET Programme Organizations". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Review: David L. McConnell, Importing Diversity: Inside Japan's JET Program". History of Education Quarterly 42 (2): 260–263. Summer 2002. 
  6. ^ "AJET Peer Support Group - AJET". 
  7. ^ http://ajet.net/lang/en/about/what-is-ajet/[dead link]
  8. ^ a b "AJET Publications - AJET". 
  9. ^ "Official Homepage of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme". 
  10. ^ "MOFA website: JET Eligibility". 
  11. ^ "JET Interview Questions". LiveJournal. 
  12. ^ "Consulate-General of Japan in Miami FAQ". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "JET Conferences". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "JET Program Terms and Conditions". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  15. ^ "ALT Job Description". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  16. ^ "JET Programme History". Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "The JET Programme--Official Homepage of The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme". 
  18. ^ "JET Program Terms and Conditions". Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  19. ^ Participants Publications: (as of July 1 of 1987) and (as of July 1, 2010) and (as of July 1, 2012)
  20. ^ "JET Programme 2012 Statistics". Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  21. ^ JET-Programme.com
  22. ^ "Consulate-General of Japan in Miami FAQ". Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  23. ^ "CLAIR General Information Handbook". 
  24. ^ "2010 Application instruction pack". 
  25. ^ "EPIK". 
  26. ^ Johnston, Eric (27 July 2010). "Ex-students don't want JET grounded". The Japan Times. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  27. ^ Mie, Ayako (23 April 2012). "LDP looks to double JET Program’s ranks in three years". The Japan Times. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  28. ^ "'Teacher outfoxes board, exposes bid to fleece JETs'". The Japan Times. 28 February 2012. 
  29. ^ a b Dooley, Ben (10 February 2011). "Former JETs defend program". The Japan Times. Japan: The Japan Times Ltd. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  30. ^ http://www.clair.or.jp/j/forum/forum/pdf_289/08_jet02.pdf
  31. ^ "Staying in the Japanese film loop | Asia New Zealand Foundation". Asianz.org.nz. 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  32. ^ "JETAA Portland Alumnus Runs for Congress" (PDF). JETAA Portland Newsletter. October 2010. p. 2. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  33. ^ Bonnah, Ted (2013). "Neo-Tokyo revisited: Deterritorialised youth, globalisation fears andreader response to Karl Taro Greenfeld’s Speed Tribes". Academia.edu. p. 91. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  34. ^ "Kyodo News "Rural JET alumni" series: Daneeta Loretta Jackson (Fukuoka)". JETwit.com. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  35. ^ "CLAIR Magazine "JET Plaza" series: Ari Kaplan (Hyōgo)". JETwit.com. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  36. ^ Sheffield, Liz. "JET Alum Author Profile: Malena Watrous". JETwit.com. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  37. ^ http://www.clair.or.jp/j/forum/forum/pdf_271/08_jet02.pdf

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Official websites

Other websites