The JET programme - the ins and outs
Class 3-D by Innocent Coppieters
According to the JETUK website:“The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme is an official Japanese Government scheme aiming to improve foreign language teaching in schools and to promote international understanding. The programme was established in 1987, with 848 participants from four countries. Since then, the number of participants has increased significantly, with around 4,500 graduates from 36 different countries on the Programme in 2009”.Set-up:
There are 2 positions available for UK graduates on the JET Programme:
Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) Coordinator for International Relations (CIR)
Since 1994, the position of Sports Exchange Advisor (SEA) has also been added; this is aimed at sports professionals, and applications are on an as needed basis.
How it works:
The JET Programme is enabled through a co-sponsorship of the Japanese Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education, and Home Affairs in conjunction with local government and with the cooperation of participants’ national governments.
Assistant Language Teachers
The majority of participants work as Assistant Language Teachers. Their role will include:
Team-teaching, or helping out in classes taught by a JTE (Japanese Teacher of English) Assisting in the preparation of teaching materials Participating in extracurricular activities with pupils Assisting with the English language training of JTEs Possibly visiting more than one school in their local area
ALTs usually work on average 35 hours a week and receive an annual salary, though the Embassy of Japan gives an insight into taxation on its website.
Coordinator for International Relations
Applicants for this position requires a high level of written and spoken Japanese (at least JLTP Level 2 or equivalent, for further information you should get in touch with the JET Programme coordinator). Their role may include:
Receiving guests from abroad Editing and producing pamphlets in English and Japanese Interpreting at locally organised international exchange programmes Advising on planning for international exchange programmes Assisting with English language instruction of government employees and local residents Planning and implementing a variety of activities of activities in the local community
Pay and conditions:
Your contract will usually last a year (starting from July-August), but can be renewed for up to an additional 4 years, depending on the consent of your allocated school.
Hours are usually around 35 hours per week, Monday to Friday.
1st year JET: ¥3,360,000 2nd year JET: ¥3,600,000 3rd year JET: ¥3,900,000 4th/5th years: ¥3,960,000.
As of this year, new JET participants who have Japanese income and resident taxes imposed on them (including all British jets) will have to pay them from their salary.
You can be placed across the country, but can specify where you’d most like to go, although this preference can’t always be met by the JET Programme.
According to the JET UK site, all applicants wishing to apply to the UK JET Programme must:
Hold a full UK passport (not just a permanent resident)* Hold a Bachelor's degree in any subject by the July before departure Be no more than 39 years of age by the April before departure Not have lived in Japan for six or more years out of the last 10 Obey all Japanese laws. This includes the law concerning entry into Japan for participation in the JET Programme, where applicants must agree to reside in Japan under the status of residence stipulated in Article 2-2 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act Have excellent English skills (written and spoken) Be both mentally and physically healthy Have a keen interest in Japan Have the ability to adapt to the living and working conditions in Japan
*If you are not a UK Passport holder but wish to apply for the JET Programme, please contact the Japanese embassy or consulate in the country for which you hold or are eligible to hold a full passport. Here's a comprehensive list of contacts for Japanese embassies and consulates around the world.
Additionally, all applicants must be available in the UK for: The interview period from January to February (Note: the duration of the interview period varies annually) Preparation and submission of the necessary documentation for successful applicants in April Attendance at the Pre-Departure Orientation in early July UNTIL departure to Japan 4-5 weeks later (Note: participants must submit their passports for visa processing at the Pre-Departure Orientation. Passports will not be returned until the date of departure to Japan) ALT applicants: Japanese ability is NOT required but a proven interest in learning Japanese will strengthen your application. Teaching experience or teaching qualifications (e.g. TEFL) are NOT required but any kind of teaching experience or experience in working with young people will strengthen your application. CIR applicants: CIR applicants must have a sufficient command of the Japanese language for daily work in a Japanese office environment (equivalent to JLPT level 2 or above). Please note: Applicants MUST NOT apply for both CIR and ALT positions. Candidates applying for both positions will be automatically disqualified from the application process. However, CIR applicants can request in their application to be considered for the ALT position should they be deemed unsuitable for the CIR position at interview. Please note that CIR candidates may only be considered for the ALT position after interview, and that sufficient Japanese language ability is essential for an application to the CIR position. Please contact the JET Office should you require more information regarding this issue. Applicants holding dual nationality with two participating countries (e.g. UK and USA) may only apply to one country. An application to both countries will result in automatic disqualification from the application process. Successful applicants holding dual nationality with Japan must renounce their Japanese citizenship by the end of March of the year of departure. Former JET participants who completed their contracts 3 or more years ago are eligible to reapply for the Programme, provided they have not participated for more than 5 years in total. Applicants with a suspended jail term must have finished their period of probation by the time an application is submitted. Participants who choose to return home or otherwise break their contract must refund their Contracting Organisation the cost of their ticket to Japan and may be subject to other appropriate actions or redresses (exceptions can be made in certain circumstances).
As specified on the JET UK site, the application process starts in September, where you are expected to send off your application according to specific requirements. The recruitment timeline is outlined here, but you’ll have to bear in mind that due to the sheer amount of applications coming through, it can be quite a tardy process.
The JET UK site also provides a few case studies of people who’ve gone out to Japan on the Programme.
Embassy of Japan in the UK
JET Programme UK