Photo/Illutration Education minister Keiko Nagaoka explains a bill to certify Japanese language schools. (Koichi Ueda)

The Diet on May 26 passed legislation designed to improve the quality of Japanese language education for foreign students in Japan as well as overseas.

The law is aimed at providing oversight on teaching content and enrollment, among other things. Teachers at certified Japanese language schools will need to obtain a national teaching qualification.

To receive certification, Japanese language schools will have to meet certain requirements pertaining to management issues and number of licensed teachers as well as curriculum and facility standards.

Certified schools will be required to periodically submit reports to show they continue to meet the standards.

Teachers seeking to work at certified schools will be required to pass a national exam.

However, those who have already been teaching for several years will be exempted from taking the exam in the early stages of the new certification system.

The government will provide information online in multiple languages about certified Japanese language schools to help foreign nationals living in Japan and overseas to choose the school that is right for them.

Certified schools will be allowed to promote their status when recruiting new students through advertisements.

Schools that are not certified will be able to remain in business. However, applications for a student visa will only be approved if the person has applied to learn at a certified school.

The Justice Ministry has its own guidelines regarding Japanese language schools and student visas, one being that teachers don’t need to be licensed.