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Hokkaido ALTs, stirring it up!

nahadef

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So the ALTs in Sapporo have been through lots over the past few years. We’ve petitioned the government and even had some incremental improvements, but this year we had a big step back. This year, the job went from part-time to full-time, making an increase in real worked hours, but the company decided that the salary was fine as it was. So hours increased by 20-30%, but the salary was the same pittance it always was. Training was all but phased out, and the start and end contract dates were shaved off so the company could send just a little bit more money to Tokyo. Today in the Hokkaido Shimbun, an article about the horrid conditions appeared. Apparently, a lot of fed up teachers negotiated with Interac, and all Interac would say is “N0, but we feel for you, really.”. So the teachers unionized, met with city hall, and got this printed, where the headline translates to ALT Poverty. It feels good to see the little guy stick up for themselves. Hopefully we’re one step closer to reform.
派遣ALT困窮 財政難、直接雇用難しく 年収200万円、任期中帰国も:北海道新聞 どうしん電子版 (behind a free registration wall)
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派遣ALT困窮 財政難、直接雇用難しく 年収200万円、任期中帰国も

12/02 05:00

 道内の小中高校に勤務する外国語指導助手(ALT)が、低賃金など不安定な労働環境に置かれ、生活苦に陥っている。国は英語教育の充実に向けてALTの積極活用を進めるが、各地の教育委員会が直接雇用するには財政面から限界があり、民間から派遣される非正規雇用も目立つ。年収200万円程度の「官製ワーキングプア」の状態は深刻化。専門家は「教育の質の確保には、ALTの生活安定が不可欠」と指摘する。

 「アルバイトをしないと生活できない」。札幌の中学校に派遣されるALTで、英語圏出身の30代男性はうつむく。月給は約20万円だが、授業が少ない3~4月は約8万円に減る。派遣業者との単年契約で賞与や昇給はなく、年収は約200万円。英会話教室で週2回バイトし、生活費を補う。

 男性は母国の大学を卒業後、ALTとして働くため約6年前に来日。家賃6万5千円のアパートで妻と暮らす。待遇は改善されず、「持病の薬さえ買えなかった」。学生時代の奨学金300万円も返済できない。共働きで家計を支える妻は「親の仕送りが頼り。将来を見通せない」という。

■自治体任せ

 ALTの雇用形態は自治体に任されている。札幌市教委は本年度120人を雇用。このうち7割の85人はALT派遣業「インタラック北日本札幌支店」(札幌)との契約で確保し、残りは国の交付税措置で給与を「初年度336万円」と保証する外国青年招致事業(JETプログラム)を活用する。正職員となると研修や生活支援などで支出が増えることから、市教委は「直接雇用は難しい」と話す。

 函館市教委は民間委託で計8人と5年契約を結ぶ。釧路市教委は計6人のうち、JETプログラム5人、派遣契約1人と振り分ける。一方、旭川市教委は英会話教室の元講師ら計7人を単年契約で直接雇用するが、一般的に学校数が多い都市部ほど非正規雇用が多い傾向がみられる。

■「助手」に一任

 近年の英語教育の拡充に伴いALTのニーズも高まり、2018年度は全国で約2万人に達した。20年度から実施される新学習指導要領では小学5、6年で英語が正式教科となり、文部科学省は「読み・書き」の指導のためALTの活用を推奨している。札幌市教委もALTの増員が不可欠とするが、「派遣契約を増やして対応する」という。

 道央の中学校に勤める別のALTの30代男性も派遣契約で、1日3~4コマの授業に出向く。担当の教員から授業の計画づくりを含め全て任されることもあり、「もはや『助手』ではない。派遣のまま生活が安定しなければ、授業に身が入らない」。ある教育関係者は「困窮して任期中に帰国するALTもいて、入れ替わりが激しい」と明かす。

 ALTの雇用問題に詳しい相模女子大の奥貫妃文(ひふみ)准教授は「非正規雇用が続けば生活基盤がつくれず授業に支障が出かねない。英語教育を推奨する国や自治体は任期を定めない直接雇用などを進め、安心して働ける環境づくりを急ぐべきだ」と話す。(下山竜良)

 <ことば>外国語指導助手(ALT=Assistant Language Teacher) 生きた英語に触れる機会を増やすため、小学校高学年の外国語活動や、中学・高校の英語の授業で教員を補助する指導員。教員免許や資格は必要ない。雇用形態は、一定の待遇を保証する国の外国青年招致事業(JETプログラム)、直接雇用、民間業者との派遣契約などがある。文部科学省によると昨年度のALTは全国の小中高校で1万9234人。主な内訳はJETプログラム4890人、直接雇用3609人、派遣契約3741人など。
 

SmudgyBuddy

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So what's up? Where's the follow up? Did it become a smashing hit article? From experience, everybody from students to public bystanders know of these conditions, and readily mention them to you if you're a foreigner, even if you don't work in the ALT field. They've been doing so for the past 8 years.Did this article make a difference? Did anything come from the spotlight?
 

Mark of Zorro

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Its all very interesting in light of the fact that there is talk of having one ALT per school in Japan. How could they afford that? Oh yeah...slave wages!
 

nahadef

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It's ongoing. An article isn't going to instigate a change mid-contract, no matter what a "smashing hit" you want to categorize it as. The current contract expires in 2021. People have their sights set on affecting that next contract. There is more coming though.

I definitely disagree with one of your points. Generally, the public don't know about the system. Maybe your circle does, but often even the teachers working with ALTs in public schools are unaware of just how poor conditions are.

Active ALTs, city hall, and the unions have long understood that the BoE and dispatch companies will not voluntarily make a single positive change. So it's a long drawn out process with constant resistance. This post was simply showing a public example of of the people standing against BoEs and dispatch.

All ALTs need to know that general conditions are unacceptable. Dispatch companies rely too much on fresh meat applicants who lack the life experience to know they're being exploited. This article definitely helped spread awareness of that.

Plus, this article hurt Interac's reputation in Hokkaido. Some Interac staff complained to some ALTs that procuring new contracts was more difficult because of it. They could have been overstating things to make those ALTs feel like supporting it hurts their own employment prospects, or they could have told the truth, or a mixture of the two. But if a single school board refuses Interac a contract because their name was publicly associated with poverty, that would be a bonus.
 

SmudgyBuddy

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Good Pikachu, keep this thread updated, I want new information regarding these unfolding turtle speed events.
 

nahadef

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I probably won’t do it for your sake. You have a smarmy vibe I don’t need to spend time with. I gave you the benefit of the doubt for your first post; I got the the message on your second.
 

SmudgyBuddy

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I probably won’t do it for your sake. You have a smarmy vibe I don’t need to spend time with. I gave you the benefit of the doubt for your first post; I got the the message on your second.
I looked up the definition of smarmy, and...
Smarmy describes someone who is overly flattering and fake. A smarmy student might tell a teacher, "You're looking even more lovely than usual today," with a big smile.
It's safe to say I'm not smarmy.
If I were to say: ''Ooo, I enjoy your doodles!''
That would be smarmy. ;)
 
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