Cram school buys out Shane English School

by Alex Martin

Cram school operator Eikoh Inc. said Friday it has acquired Shane English School to strengthen its English-language education for elementary school children ahead of the planned compulsory teaching of the language for fifth- and sixth-graders.

Eikoh, based in the Kanto region, didn’t disclose how much it paid for the acquisition of shares in the four operating companies that run the English school chain, which mainly operates in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Representatives of both Eikoh and Shane English School said the acquisition won’t involve personnel cuts or other drastic changes in operations.

Shane English School, a British English school owned by Saxoncourt Holdings, Ltd. based in the British Virgin Islands, operates 199 branches across the Kanto region, of which 46 are franchised.

The four operating companies that run Shane English School are Shane Corporation Japan Inc., Shane Corporation Kita Kanto Inc., Shane Corporation Higashi Kanto Inc. and Shane Corporation Minami Kanto Inc. Besides providing English lessons, Shane offers Chinese classes as well as overseas study programs.

Hiroyuki Otsubo of Eikoh’s business management division said one reason for the buyout was Eikoh’s desire to strengthen its English-teaching operations in time for the planned implementation in 2011 of English as a compulsory subject in elementary schools.

Otsubo said Eikoh has no plans to change the number of teachers working for Shane English School and its roughly 20,000 students will continue receiving the same services.

Eikoh operates 380 cram schools and has 67,000 students. A press release from Eikoh said that in the Tokyo area, Shane already holds 60 percent of its classes in the same location as classes hosted by Eikoh.

Takehiko Kikuchi, a PR representative for Shane English School, said company employees and teachers received the news calmly.