Nova teachers offer classes for food

A union representing teachers of Nova Corp. said Thursday its ranks will soon launch a “Lesson-for-Food” campaign in which they will offer free classes to students of the failed foreign-language school chain in exchange for basic food or meals.

The union said in Tokyo that it has also started accepting donations to help Nova teachers who find themselves destitute and face being evicted from their homes, said Bob Tench, president of the Nova branch of the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu.

“Why are we doing this? People have no money . . . they have no food,” Tench told reporters at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. “This is a crisis that is rapidly turning into a tragedy.”

According to the union and government sources, large numbers of Nova teachers, mainly foreign, have not been paid for months as the school’s finances tanked.

Louis Carlet, deputy general secretary of the union, said it is hard to gauge exactly how many people are in dire straits because all schools were closed Oct. 26, when Nova filed for court protection under the Corporate Rehabilitation Law.

Two court-appointed administrators for Nova are now searching for a sponsor to help rebuild the firm.

But finding a sponsor will not help solve the immediate problems of Nova teachers because it will take time for the company to reopen for business and start settling unpaid salaries, Tench said.