Japanese gov’t to toughen language school standards

Akie Abe. left the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaks to a schoolgirl during a visit to a senior elective Japanese language class at Darwin High School in Darwin, Australia, Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. (David Moir/Pool Photo via AP)

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) — The eligibility standards for Japanese-language schools that accept foreign students with an eye to increase the average attendance rate of students to at least 70 percent will be toughened.

The government will toughen the eligibility standards for Japanese-language schools that accept foreign students with an eye to increasing the average attendance rate of students to at least 70 percent.

The Immigration Services Agency aims to improve the quality of education for foreign students and strengthen enrollment management of the Japanese-language schools by revising criteria that will be effective on Sept. 1.

The move comes as some Japanese language schools enroll many foreign students whose purpose is to work in Japan, recording the students as having completed the courses despite their poor Japanese-language ability.

Under the new standards, the schools will be required to report to the Immigration Bureau about the part-time jobs of students whose monthly attendance rate is less than 50 percent.

The requirement for the average attendance rate of students will be revised from the current 50 percent or more in a month to 70 percent or more over a period of six months.   Schools failing to meet this requirement will not be allowed to accept new foreign students.

The government also requires that at least 70 percent of students who complete courses must proceed to universities or colleges, change their residence status to “specified skilled worker,” or pass a certain level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.

The schools also will not be allowed to accept foreign students if the schools fail to meet the 70 percent requirement for three straight years.

If the rate of students who stay illegally in Japan, have their extension permit turned down, or have their resident status revoked reaches 5 percent, the school status will be downgraded to “unsuitable school.”

Should the situation continue for three years, the school will be banned from accepting foreign students.