ECC to launch Japanese course in Philippines


English school chain ECC Co. will launch a Japanese course in the Philippines in June in partnership with a local college amid growing interest in the language among Filipinos.

The Osaka-based firm and the University of Perpetual Help plan to provide a 6-month e-learning program, including a weekly supplementary lecture, for 35,000 pesos (¥72,000), targeting employees of Japanese affiliates and those planning to study and work in Japan, the company said.

ECC’s first Japanese-language course overseas aims to cater to an increasing number of Filipinos taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, a widely used exam for evaluating and certifying the language proficiency of nonnative speakers, it said.

In 2017, a record 14,062 Filipinos took the exam, up 21 percent from the previous year, while the tally for all examinees topped 1 million for the first time, according to the Japan Foundation, which administers the test.

The private university, founded in 1975, has three campuses in the south of Manila with about 2,000 employees and some 18,000 students, according to ECC.

The company also picked the Philippines because “many people come to work in Japan,” an ECC spokesman said. Its trial course there through last December attracted more than 30 students.

The Southeast Asian nation ranked third on the list of countries sending trainees to Japan as of the end of 2016 after Vietnam and China, accounting for 9.9 percent of the 228,589 trainees, according to the Japan International Training Cooperation Organization, which supports the training program for foreign nationals.

ECC sees Japanese-language instruction in the Philippines as a long-term business and is considering launching a related teacher training program in the Philippines in the future, the spokesman said.

In 2016, ECC opened its first overseas English-language school in the Philippines because a growing number of Japanese are opting to travel there to study English at more affordable costs.