Rethinking ALT Employment: Charting a Course for a Fairer System

Feb 11, 2024

The General Union’s study delves into our latest “All Japan Board of Education Survey”, uncovering critical insights into Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) hiring trends nationwide. The study, drawing from the General Union’s extensive nationwide survey, provides a nuanced perspective on the ALT job market.

Categorizing ALTs into three primary groups — JET ALTs, Direct Hire ALTs (DirALT), and Dispatched ALTs (DispALT) — sets the stage for a detailed analysis. The study focuses on employment status, especially for those hired through dispatch companies, revealing a concerning persistence in the use of problematic outsourced sub-contracting contracts (GI contracts).

Highlighting the illegality of GI contracts under the School Education Act, the union’s information from the education ministry shows that DispALT working under these contracts is the same as allowing unlicensed drivers on the road.

Wage disparities among ALT contracts and their implications for job satisfaction are integral aspects of the study. Despite doing the same work as JET and DirALT, DispALT face significant pay gaps, affecting retention, educational quality, and morale. The union’s 2022 study of ALT working conditions, shows a yearly income gap of over one million yen per year.

In conclusion, the study sheds light on critical ALT system issues, urging a rectification of legal violations, equal treatment, and a focus on educational quality. The General Union proposes a comprehensive approach, advocating for political support, engaging the Ministry of Education, and mobilizing ALTs for equal pay. This collective effort aims to bring about positive change and contribute to a more equitable society in Japan.

Access the full presentation here, or watch below.