Evaluation of the Support System for JET Participants; Discussion Summary

This is the summary of the Spring 2012 Opinion Exchange Meeting between AJET, the Council for Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC). The following is a summary of the discussion regarding the report, “Evaluation of the Support System for JET Participants.”  AJET’s questions are in italics, followed by summaries of the responses. To access the full report, click here.

Evaluation of the Support System for JET Participants
Written by 
Erica Nakanishi-Stanis, Denise Schlikbernd, and Rory Conaty
Presented and Interpreted by Erica Nakanishi-Stanis

AJET: One of the reasons why awareness of the support system is so high is because of the efforts that CLAIR has undertaken to make that information available in so many avenues. One of our suggestions is that this information be made available a second time when JETs have settled down in their placements.

CLAIR feels that the methods currently in place for promoting the support services are effective. Additionally, supervisors are given the information about these resources at the annual supervisors’ meeting and at other workshops. However, CLAIR will consider AJET’s suggestion of creating a supplemental document distributed at a later time for JET participants. As a follow-up, AJET suggested that the existing information could be altered to clarify the differences between each support service. CLAIR agreed to consider the results of the survey and AJET’s report when considering changing the information already provided in the GIH and CLAIR News.

AJET: Does CLAIR have any suggestions for how PAs might be more active in promoting awareness of the support system to JETs in their prefectures or cities?

CLAIR has confidence in the biannual workshops on outreach at PA training seminars. Additionally, at Tokyo Orientation (TO), CLAIR holds a special workshop for JET participants who are assigned PA duties in their first year so that they can receive training from the beginning of their tenure.

AJET: CLAIR has mentioned in the past discussions that the PA handbook will be revised sometime in the next few years – has any progress been made on setting a date for that revision? Is there a list of specific changes or additions to be made that PAs can expect?

CLAIR has not made any specific decisions regarding the content of the updated version of the PA handbook. However, until that update is made, any additionally new information will be distributed as necessary in supplemental packets. An example of this is the PA handover guide created in cooperation with AJET, which will be included in the eventual PA handbook update. If AJET has additional recommendations regarding new content, CLAIR is open to hearing them.

AJET: PSG would like to express its appreciation for CLAIR’s continued support of PSG volunteers’ presence at PA conferences. However, there is concern that not all contracting organizations may permit their PSG volunteers to attend PA conferences without an official request from CLAIR. To that end, would it be possible for CLAIR to provide such a letter?

CLAIR recognizes the importance of PSG activities as part of the JET Programme support system and would like to see PSG members participate in the PA seminar. However, participation is at the discretion of the individual contracting organization. Currently, requests are sent to these members and COs asking for understanding, but the decision is reserved for the COs themselves.

AJET: PSG’s main priority is to have as many volunteers attend the conference as possible. PSG would like to request that an allotment of time and space be made during the next PA conference for PSG to meet independently and that the PSG volunteers’ schedule be listed in the conference schedule.

CLAIR reiterated that PSG attendance at the PA seminar is an important part of the conference, so there is no objection to list their activities in the conference schedule. CLAIR then inquired about the possibility of a PSG workshop for PAs at the PA seminar, as well as additional information regarding PSG activities and cases. AJET responded that there is an agreement with PSG that members should be able to provide PA’s training via Skype as opposed to at the PA conferences, in order to compensate for the gap between the two PA conferences. The exact details are under negotiation. Because PSG operates independently of AJET, however, AJET recommends that PSG coordinate with CLAIR to address any issues in sharing information about PSG activities and cases.