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Thread: NOVA closes all schools!

  1. #1
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    Default NOVA closes all schools!

    I think this forum is the right place to post this, right? Anyway, its on BBC now...

    UK embassy to help Japan teachers

    The UK embassy in Tokyo has said it will help hundreds of teachers after Japan's largest language schools chain filed for protection from creditors.

    Nova Corp, which mainly offers English classes, did not pay its 4,000 foreign staff for October, unions have said.

    In a statement, the embassy said it was unable to provide financial assistance to those affected, but could help them contact family and friends.

    It added that its officials were "closely monitoring the situation".

    The statement also urged employees to contact regional Nova offices, local labour advisory centres and the General Union, which represents the company's teachers.

    The firm, which mainly offers English classes, has more than 800 schools and 400,000 students across Japan.

    But in June, it was ordered to suspend part of its operations, after a court ruled it had misled customers in advertisements about some services.

    Since then, student enrolment has fallen sharply and Nova has accumulated debts of up to JPY50bn ($437m, £213m).

    Its 2,000 Japanese staff have not been paid since July, union officials said.

    Nova has now closed all its schools, Kyodo news agency said.

    A court-appointed trustee will sort out its debts and seek sponsors to rebuild its business, Japanese media reports said.

    Nova is one of Japan's major employers of foreign nationals. Murdered Briton Lindsay Anne Hawker was working for Nova at the time of her death.
    Well, so much for using NOVA as my backup way of getting to Japan if JET doesnt work out, heh.

    Though I wonder if this will affect other language schools in any way?

  2. #2
    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    People have been saying that it will mean megabucks for Geos and Aeon and smaller eikawas which it probably will but I don't think that will translate into anything good for the employees. There'll be lots of out of work gaijin going for the same crappy jobs which will probably drive down wages and conditions and the big companies will be laughing all the way to the bank.

    Sounds like even more of a reason not to work for them.
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    &%$#@!!! Timoshi's Avatar
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    A friend of mine who works for GEOS says there hasn't really been a pickup in students despite the (much larger) Nova down the road shutting down. The whole industry is suffering as a result of Nova collapsing... this also means getting work in Japan is going to get a hell of a lot more difficult.
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    Senior Member doublenatural's Avatar
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    The Chinese firm English First are offering free flights and relocation assistance to ex-NOVA people. Which is kind of cheeky, in a "ding dong, the witch is dead", let's poach all their staff before anyone else does kind of way.
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    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    I read the group on facebook for the nova kids. felt really bad for them. That sucks hard.

    Also saw the EF ad. Was tempting for a few seconds to ask if they have a school in Hangzhou where i'd be very tempted to go. But i'd feel like a quitter if i didn't do Japan and especially the Japanese language to death first. 1 more year in the inaka for me methinks!
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    I am so glad now that I didn't start working w/ them b/c if I did, I might have already been in Japan with no job, no money, and soon to be evicted from my apartment. I feel sorry for all the NOVA teachers. The foreign market is definately going to be flooded for a while now. I'm not sure if this is going to hurt or help the other major eikaiwas, but I would think that AEON/GEOS/ECC would profit from this. I wouldn't be suprised if in a few months they all start expanding.

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    Delicious...and moist! kiwimusume's Avatar
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    I APPLIED for Nova after I got turned down for JET the first time!!! If I hadn't gotten turned down that could so easily have been me. 8O

    Someone up there must really like me. If I was in that situtation I would be freaking.
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    Well..people will still want to learn English; here's to hoping jobs open up.

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    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boundless
    Well..people will still want to learn English; here's to hoping jobs open up.
    I dunno ... do they?
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    According to my boyfriend (who worked there for a month and got nada in terms of pay), the NOVA people have been told that there is 'restructuring' going on that should last until November 5th, at which point the doors will reopen. Apparently other companies are interested in buying Nova.

    That does make sense to me, since the company can still make money. With so many locations around the country, the lowest fees for students and the least amount of 'straight-from-the-textbook' work (they do something called a 'voice' session, which is just chat time, which AEON and GEOS don't, and the nova students like it), I think it makes sense for someone else to come in and take the company. To let all those already-established resources go to waste just seems stupid to me.

    Dunno if the Nov. 5th deadline will actually hold, but there's still SOME hope for any of the NOVA people who were able to stick around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dombay
    Quote Originally Posted by Boundless
    Well..people will still want to learn English; here's to hoping jobs open up.
    I dunno ... do they?
    I'm kind of confused by your response. I take it you probably are working in Japan right now, so you'd know better than me about individual students, but it doesn't make much sense to me that there were companies teaching English all this time, and now people just simply don't want to learn it anymore. From my limited knowledge of the subject, it seems like Nova went under because of their shady business tactics and reputation, not so much because people didn't want to learn English. I know there are a lot of Japanese people who are interested in doing business internationally - it's almost a requirement that you know at least one major western language if you want to be a businessman who works globally, and I think for this purpose, English is the best choice. Maybe demand for English has decreased, but I doubt by all that much.

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    Senior Member doublenatural's Avatar
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    Boundless, I think his point was more along the lines of the fact that the Japanese spend horrendous amounts of money on learning English at schools and eikaiwas, yet the level of English speaking ability in this country is really quite appalling. You find the odd few who can put together a basic sentence, but on the whole, they aren't that many. The majority of my teachers speak next to no English. Some can hold a very short and simple conversation. I even know one guy who is writing a journal article on medical rehabilitation for an english language journal, yet has difficulty answering "How are you?" with more than "I'm fine, thank you. And you?" It's really sad.
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    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    Yep, DN is right there.


    The level of English the average Japanese person has is just not good enough for business or any other area of English for Specific Purpose.

    The other thing is that a lot of native English speakers are under the impression that everyone either should or wants to learn their language. There's a lot of holes in argument. A lot of Japanese people I've taught (here but also a little bit in Australia) see English as a hobby. The average Japanese person really never needs English. Japan isn't a tourism centre, Japanese people don't travel overseas all that much and international business though it happens doesn't involve that many people. Certainly not 900 schools worth just for one company.

    I guess time will tell but I cannot see the collapse of NOVA creating extra demand - especially now in a climate where it seems that people haven't just lost their trust in the NOVA company, but also the industry on the whole.

    Its really sad that all their employees have been fucked around like this but I don't think the impact on the rest of the economy will be that great.
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    I think a lot of us saw this coming but I still feel horrible for the Nova employees.

    I heard they officially closed yesterday at a Halloween party, a girl who was working for them was freaking out about having moved out here two months ago and having no money.

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    What do you think the outlook is for people like myself, graduating in 2 years, who want to work in Japan for a year or two? Am I going to be able to find anything at all?

    On a semi-related note, though I'm not nearly as interested in China, I've heard the gov't is simply pouring money into universities and schools. Have any of you heard much about the prospect of teaching there would be? I wouldn't mind maybe living there for a year and then moving to Japan since I'd at least have some real teaching experience in a foreign country...

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    In a couple of years the whole NOVA thing will probably be water under the bridge. Apparently big ekaiwa co's have gone bust before (I wasn't around at the time).

    The NOVA employees will have moved on, the students who were burnt by NOVA will have been replaced, and there you go...

    I am interested in who is buying NOVA. Apparently 2 companies based in the Caymen Islands have invested some money in the company, and have to option to buy a majority stake.

    What happens next is the question - I doubt NOVA will re-open all their schools, or (re)employ all their teachers - I don't think they'll have enough cash, and anyway the've alread been evicted from some of the places they were renting.

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    My ex works (worked...?) for Nova, and I have a lot of friends in the city who are/were at Nova. They are paid a month behind, so when they were paid 3 days late (Sept 19 instead of Sept 15), that was their pay for the work they did in August. Their Oct 15 pay was delayed until the 19th, then the 25th, and after the 19th and the 25th a lot of them stopped showing up. I've heard some of the Japanese staff haven't been paid since July, but I'm not sure on that. Nova charges instructors 60,000 yen a piece for their apartments, and usually puts them 3 to an apartment. I've heard of places where the rent was deducted from their paychecks, but the tenants still received eviction notices, although that didn't happen in my area. Now the president and a few other higher ups have been fired as of Thursday or Friday, and the schools are temporarily closed down for 10 days while they look for a buyer. Nova has received protection from the courts to keep the creditors at bay for a while. They're now looking for another investor, but the Novas I talked to didn't seem to think they were going to find one. Hopefully they do, now that the people on top who were making all the mistakes are gone.

    I saw this article today on the web... the wording is kind of confusing though. I'm not sure what they're trying to say...
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national...29TDY01306.htm

    To be honest, I'm not sure how this will affect the job market. A lot of people seem to be going home - the embassies seem to be pushing people in that direction, a lot of them are just offering discount flights home and some web links as assistance. Some students will probably go to other schools immediately, some will wait for their refund or hope Nova will start up again, and some will just not go at all. Who knows...

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    It makes me really glad I didn't apply for NOVA, but I know a few people that are (were) working for them and I'm wondering what they're going to do now. What a mess!

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