Re: “Eikaiwa on the ropes after fall of Geos” (Zeit Gist, May 4) by Richard Smart:
Thank you very much for printing the story regarding the Geos bankruptcy. As a former Geos teacher, I was glad to see that you told the other side of the story, as other media had made it appear that there weren’t any problems because G.communication had taken over the company in advance. This is not true.
I chose not to sign the vague contract with the new company, for the same reasons as the teacher mentioned in the article, and because I was due to leave the company in a matter of weeks.
I had been employed with Geos for more than 10 years when they declared bankruptcy in April. I had given the required four months’ notice and was due to leave the company in May, but had offered to extend my employment to help the school as they were having trouble finding teachers.
As I was on a very old-style contract, I was due a leaving allowance of ¥1 million — which I lost — in addition to April’s salary. I have also had to fight to be allowed to stay in my apartment until the end of the month, despite the fact I had paid May’s rent directly to the landlord.
Many teachers signed the new contract as they were worried about being left homeless and visa-less with no money in a foreign country. A letter in Japanese was sent to staff who chose not to sign the contract saying that the documents required to claim the unpaid salary would be sent by May 15, and that teachers should be out of their apartments by that date. As many ex-teachers are already having to leave the country, there is no way that they will be able to make a claim.
In the school where I used to teach, the instructor who replaced me left after only a few days’ teaching, and the other teacher is due to work until only the end of May. However, the students are not being told about this when they sign and agree to continue their lessons, losing the right to a refund if they cancel their contracts. Students who do not want to continue under these conditions are being told that they will not be able to obtain a refund.
I agree with the article that the large eikaiwa school models are on their way out. In the area where I live, smaller schools that allow students to pay monthly are seeing an increase in students.
I hope that you will continue to print articles showing the other side of the story.
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