Photo/IllutrationA subcommittee of the Council for Cultural Affairs discusses a proposal to establish a national qualification system for Japanese language teachers during a meeting in Tokyo on Sept. 20. (Mayumi Ueda)

An advisory panel to the education minister recommended Sept. 20 that the government establish a national qualification system for Japanese language teachers.

A subcommittee of the Council for Cultural Affairs said the decision was intended to raise Japanese language education standards as more foreign nationals are now living in Japan.

Another goal is to increase the number of Japanese language teachers by heightening their social status with the national qualification system.

National qualification systems have legal backing and are in place for such occupations as medical doctors, lawyers, nursery teachers and hairdressers.

Even if a person does not have the national qualification as a Japanese language teacher, he or she can still teach Japanese language.

But gaining the national qualification means they are certified by the state.

To obtain this status, people must pass a test that assesses their Japanese language education ability. This is followed by at least 45 sessions of teaching practice, which involves holding classes for 45 minutes or longer.

Those who apply for the national qualification must be university graduates.

The panel also decided that Japanese language teachers should renew the national qualification every 10 years or so after they initially pass.

The panel made no decision on whether to exempt applicants for the national qualification from all or part of the test if they have already completed training courses at universities or training institutes.

As for those who currently meet the criteria as teachers of Japanese language schools certified by the Justice Ministry to accept foreign students, the panel plans to rate them as having the national qualification as a transitional measure.

The panel will seek public input about its proposals within this year at the earliest after deciding on the details and then draw up proposed legislation for consideration by the Diet.