STANDING COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES (SCOEP)
Chair: Arudou Debito (ne Dave Aldwinckle), Koushi, Hokkaido Information University
Farrell Cleary, Koushi, Prefectural University of Kumamoto
Gwendolyn Gallagher, formerly of Asahikawa University
Michael H. Fox, Jokyouju, Hyogo University
John McLaughlin, Koushi, Heisei International University
Gene van Troyer, Jokyouju, Gifu University for Education and Languages
(Recommendations drafted by the Chair, revised and approved by Members Dec 15, 2000)
That the following resolution be adopted by JALT:
WHEREAS JALT has historically regarded academia and pedagogy as the primary issues of language education; and
WHEREAS The above perspective neglects the overall social, political, and economic nature of education; and
WHEREAS It is necessary to recognize the linkage between educational/academic quality and employment practices to understand and improve language education; and
WHEREAS Employment practices and working conditions have a direct impact upon management, students, and faculty, as well as on the language education profession and Japan's educational system in general; and
WHEREAS Japan's educational system has engaged in long-standing and widespread use of limited-term employment specifically for non-Japanese, using discriminatory criteria such as nationality, sex, and age; and
WHEREAS The disadvantages of these discriminatory practices are compounded by the current systemwide trend towards increased part-time and/or temporary employment, further increasing job instability for all nationalities; and
WHEREAS These systems and trends have created impediments to quality education and Japan's policy of "internationalization", such as premature retirement of competent educators, a comparative dearth of women in leadership and tenured positions, and ethnocentric faculties ill-equipped to provide global education befitting Japan's economic and political status; and
WHEREAS These systems and trends have created impediments to quality research, because the historically high turnover in non-Japanese faculty has resulted in discontinuity in administration, curricula, research and academic publications, hindering the international cross-pollenization and long-term collation and application of ideas crucial to the intellectual health and societal participation of any academic society; and
WHEREAS These systems and trends makes clear the need for academic organizations such as JALT to take measures to increase awareness of these deleterious practices, as JALT's constitutional purpose and specified activities state that it contribute to social education and international cooperation, and JALT has formally adopted a policy on discrimination that places JALT in opposition to the above discriminatory practices; and
WHEREAS JALT's Standing Committee on Employment Practices (SCOEP) is charged with recommending action plans which address the current concerns of its membership regarding discriminatory practices, thus making it necessary for SCOEP to engage in research to establish the type, extent and ramifications of these discriminatory practices to fulfill its mission within JALT; and
THEREFORE Be it resolved that JALT formally acknowledge the relation between employment practices and the quality of education, and that research into related employment issues and working conditions be formally recognized as an integral aspect of JALT's professional mission for the well-being of both Japan's educational system and the research that it fosters and necessitates.
The following motions are hereby moved to provide JALT the means to act upon this resolution as it directly relates to the concerns of SCOEP.
JALT pass a resolution which clearly recognizes the links between pedagogy, quality of education, and employment status, and establishes that henceforth employment issues will be in perpetuity part of JALT's purview of concerns.
JALT assume a public and active role in heightening awareness of optimal educational goals, and in discouraging discriminatory practices which are deleterious to language education and language educators, through public statements of concern issued to its membership, the practitioners, government, and/or judiciary.
JALT formally establish a code of preferences for employment practices to be updated and published annually.
That SCOEP be charged with engaging in research to establish the type, the extent and the ramifications of these discriminatory practices, and publish these findings to fulfill its mission within JALT.
RATIONALE: It has been substantiated over several years of JALT Publications (cf. PALE Journal, inter alia), the vernacular and English-language press, and extensive interpersonal contact, that the Japanese academic job market is unstable particularly and by design for non-Japanese educators, women and older teachers, both part- and full-time. Full-time foreign faculty (generally and specifically relegated to gaikokujin kyoushi and -kyouin contract employment, have often found their positions terminated without cause or warning: women have found advancement and tenure much more difficult to obtain than men; older teachers are locked out of jobs and most teachers are forced to retire on the basis of age. Part-timers of any nationality, given the trend of replacing full-timers with adjunct instructors, often find comparatively lower salaries, lack of health and insurance safety nets, and denial of publication rights--hindering their participation in and contribution to the academic world.
Ultimately, these practices adversely effect both student and teacher, as the former finds experienced educators often reshuffled year upon year for non-academic reasons, while the latter finds great difficulty making a living in this society.
However, JALT, as Japan's largest and best-recognized organization for language teaching, is in an advantageous position. It can make its influential voice heard on these issues, increasing awareness 1) by cooperating with organizations working to eliminate unfair employment practices, and 2) by promoting the amelioration of institutionalized discrimination and encouraging greater workplace equity via public statements to government and administrations. Conversely, internally, JALT, with its extensive information networks, may assist its members to find more equitable and stable job conditions. This is not an unusual task for an academic association, as TESOL, the American Association of University Professors, and several professional disciplines (cf. the American Association of Anthropology) have officially passed statements endorsing better working conditions for sectors of their educational job markets. JALT itself in the past year has sent letters of concern over cases involving the Prefectural University of Kumamoto and Asahikawa University. Hence it is time to institutionalize what is already being seen as necessary and being done.
Therefore, these SCOEP motions, if adopted, will not only earn JALT domestic and international recognition and praise, but also make JALT, in this time of stagnant memberships, more appealing as an institution to new and grateful members. Japan, as the world's second-largest economy, is no longer a place for a few foreign academics to spend a few years in a guest-lecturer position before going home. Twenty-First Century Japan is home for more non-Japanese academics than ever before, and it is time JALT adopted suitable policies to assist them not only pedagogically, but also in terms of employment issues.
JALT SCOEP RESOLUTION 2001 ENDS
Submitted in this revised form to JALT EBM, Sophia University, Tokyo, January 27, 2001.