The following is a rough translation, prepared by Joe Tomei and Kirk Masden, of a two part article that appeared in the Kumamoto Nichinichi Shinbun (the Kumamoto Daily). The text of the Japanese article can be found at:

Cancellation of the Continuing English courses at Prefectural University of Kumamoto

The adult education courses in English have been cancelled for the first term, after 9 years. Prefectural University of Kumamoto claims that it is related to the problem with the 'full-time part-time teachers' contracts.

The classes were started as part of the push for 'lifelong education' and started before the university changed from the Women's Prefectural University of Kumamoto to the (coed) Prefectural University of Kumamoto.

No credits were received for these courses, but participants did receive a certificate of completion. Last year about 150 people participated in the program.

There were 63 courses last year in a wide range of fields and 10 of these were taught by native English teachers. This year, there will be 48, which include various other languages, but not one English class.

According to Head of Student Affairs Nakamiya, in December they tried to set up the classes, but they could not do so in time for this term.

In September, President Teshima announced that the foreign teachers' contracts would not be renewed and they are currently searching for three new teachers and so could not set up the courses in time.

Problems with the Employment of Foreign Teachers: Monbusho to Investigate

Concerning the problem of Foreign Teachers asking to be employed on the same basis as Japanese nationals at Kumamoto Prefectural University. In regard to this, Monbusho announced that it would ask the prefectural university of Kumamoto for an explanation of the situation. This was in response to a visit by the Kumamoto General Union (Cynthia Worthington, President) and the Kenritsudai Gaikokujin Kyoushi o Mamoru Kai (Professor Masanori Hanada, Kumamoto Gakuen University, spokesperson)

There were two major questions that were asked to the Monbusho higher education division. The first was: Is it appropriate for teachers who were full-time employess with administrative responsibilities within the university to be employed as part time, according to the local labor standards law? The second: Was Monbusho aware that even though, when the university applied for accreditation, the Foreign Teachers were listed as sennin, they were actually employed as part time teachers? In addition, it was brought to the Ministry's attention that the Foreign Teachers also signed documents of appointment in both English and Japanese listing them as sennin/full-time and that Monbusho received these documents.

In response, Monbusho emphasized that they viewed it as important that the Foreign Teachers were categorized as sennin for the purposes of accreditation and that this was on the shunin shodakusho (certificate of appointment) sent to Monbusho, and so Monbusho terms them as jokin kyoshoukuin (full time faculty member)

'We have to find out if it is possible for a sennin to be a hijokin, however, when they applied to the Ministry, we understood that the foreign teachers would be employed as sennin.'