Branch closings dim Nova's future
The Yomiuri Shimbun
English-conversation school operator Nova Corp.'s planned closure of about 50 branches at the end of this month is indicative of the severe business climate the company faces, following a number of student contract cancellations and an order from the government in June to partially suspend its operations.
The firm, the largest of its kind in the nation, has delayed paying some foreign teachers' salaries.
Nova plans to reduce costs by cutting personnel after the branch closures are completed. However, Nova's prospects remain uncertain.
According to the company, Nova had 418,000 students as of March 31, a more than 10 percent drop from the same time last year, due to former students filing a series of high-profile suits demanding the firm refund their tuition fees after they canceled lesson contracts.
Nova has also been hampered by a decline in the number of new students, following the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry's order in June to partially suspend its operations.
Nova listed revenues of 9.2 billion yen from April to June in fiscal
2007, a 31.9 percent drop from the same period last year. The firm had an after-tax deficit during the same period of 2.4 billion yen.
The firm's delay in salary payments to some foreign teachers has caused a great deal of anxiety. "I'm worried about what's going on," a foreign Nova teacher in Osaka said.
Lesson plan for level four advanced students
Target Language: Use of tags for emphasis and as interogatives.
Intro: Discuss students' past experience with renewing lesson packages and using all point before contract expiration. (Alternative: Speculation "What would you do if this school closed?" "What would you do if your company failed to pay your salary?"
Drills: Listen and repeat - Nova has had some problems lately, haven't they?
Nova has been cheating its students, haven't they?
Nova hasn't paid its teachers this month, have they?
Substitution drill: This school is in a fiery tailspin/up shit creek without a paddle/ neck deep in the big muddy, isn't it? (explain idioms as needed, get students to speculate on possible meanings or supply own metaphors)
This was only a matter of time/bound to happen/simple karma wasn't it?
This school is run by thieves/wankers/the yakuza, isn' t it?
Role play: A Nova teacher has not been paid and has no money. They are complaining to a Nova manager and demanding their money. The manager must come up with excuses not to pay (ie: the ministry of consumer affairs ate our account books, didn't they? The corporate jet needed repairs, didn't it?) and the teacher must come up with examples of what will happen to them or to the manager if they aren't paid. (ie: I'll be thrown out of my apartment, won't I? You don't think you'll get away with this, do you?)
(see if you can guess where I used to work and how I liked it)