NOVA was the undisputed king of eikaiwa a few years ago, but with their president Nozomu Sahashi jailed on charges of embezzlement and the company beyond bankrupt, it’s unlikely that it will be a force of good among English teachers in Japan ever again.
In 2007, Nova’s business practices caught up to them; essentially, branch managers were required to sell “credits” to prospective students, which could in turn be traded for class time. However, if the student in question wanted a refund, the manager had a lot of discretion in deciding a new value for each credit – nobody got back what they put in. In addition, as teachers were given a great deal of flexibility in their schedules (different days off, locations, class times), students didn’t enjoy too much consistency when they chose to attend Nova classes. It was a time bomb waiting to happen.
The company used this money to spend more on advertising than practically any other in the country (not just English conversation schools, mind you). When the spending and refunds caught up to them, salaries stopped being wired to teachers, foreigners refused to teach without being paid, and Nova was caught on corruption charges.
As of today, there are a few branches of Nova under the management of G.Communication and some independent backers, but by and large, the language school is dead. Don’t sign up to teach there.
- They did have a few good commercials in their heyday
- The company is a practically nonexistent, a lost cause
In January 2007, seven teachers working at Nova were arrested on drug charges – cocaine and cannabis – in Tokyo. This announcement was issued to much of the English teaching community:
NOVA teachers arrested for possessing cannabis, cocaine
Yesterday, the news media and newspapers have announced that seven Nova school teachers were arrested for possessing cannabis and cocaine.
Please remember in Japan, cannabis, cocaine, as well as other drugs are regarded as a symbol of corruption and crime. Those who possess or use such illegal drugs will be treated accordingly. Japan has extremely strict drug control policies and [our] policy manual conforms to these laws and policies.
Some of those NOVA teachers may not have initiated the act, but just happened to be associated with the actual people involved. In any event, they were all arrested. When something like this happens, not only does one damage his/her individual reputation and ruin their future, but it also damages their company and society as a whole.
Understand this is a serious matter. Never involve yourself in illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine and stay away from people that are known users. I truly hope that none of you will get involved in something like this.