TESDA opens up language training for Japan-bound nurses

01 April 2011

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has come to the aid of Filipino nurses in breaking the language barrier in Japan.

TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva has announced the launch of the Preparatory Japanese Language Training for the country's candidate nurses and caregivers bound for various health institutions under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

“Today marks another milestone in the cooperation of the Philippines and Japan and the friendship of the Filipino and the Japanese people. Your Excellency, please accept the gratitude of our people for this gift of language training for our nurses who will work in the health institutions in your country,” Villanueva said during the launch of the program at the TESDA Women's Center in Taguig City this week.

“The language training that they are undertaking here in the Philippines will facilitate their settling down and acculturation in their areas of deployment and hopefully improve their chances of the difficult licensure examination conducted in your language," he said.

Twenty Japanese and several Filipino trainors will give the special Nihongo language training and culture orientation to estimated 150 nurses and caregivers who have passed the rigid examination and assessment under the JPEPA program.

The training started on March 28 and will last until May 20, 2011. The candidates are expected to fly to Japan by end of May.

Under the agreement, the Philippines would be allowed to send specific number of nurses every year to work in selected hospitals Japan.

But even if the nurses hurdle the examination and interviews in the country, they will still be required to undergo written and oral examination to become full-fledged nurses in Japan.

“To our dear nurses, make the most of your stay in TESDA. This is not only Nihongo training. This is also a good introduction to the Japanese culture, especially so that 20 of your trainors came straight from Japan," Villanueva said.

"Learn from them. And understand the now much vaunted Japanese discipline that everybody is talking about. And when you get to Japan, take pride in being Filipino professionals, with our culture of caring and adaptability. Always be the shining image of the Filipino. For the economic partnership agreement is not only about economics, but is an agreement of friends," he added.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Makoto Katsura, in his speech during the event, said this the first time that this preparatory language training will be implemented prior to the departure for Japan.

“Our aim is to provide assistance to you by exposing you early on in the process to the Japanese language in the hopes of laying a solid groundwork so you can cope much better when you enter Japan and take the licensure examination eventually,” he said.

“Although I have no doubts that you will be able to fulfill your duties and responsibilities as healthcare professionals in Japan, I am also aware that one of the most difficult obstacles for passing the Japanese nursing licensure examination is the language barrier,” Katsura said.

But the ambassador said he was optimistic that this preparatory language training “will pave the way for this barrier to be broken down.”

Christine Joy Montoya, one of the candidate nurses in the third batch, thanked the Philippine and Japan governments for the language training, which she said would give them headway in learning Japanese language and culture.

She urged her fellow candidate nurses not to waste the opportunity and hurdle the examinations.

“Let us be inspired by the first kangoshi who passed the exams through her tremendous effort.  Let us make history.  Similar to a marathon, we are now at the starting line, let us avoid thinking that running is scary and tiring, we must aim to reach the finish line, and that is passing the licensure exam,” Montoya said.

“We should not waste this chance because we are now in the stage of bringing our dream closer to reality,” she added.

Villanueva also took the opportunity to express his sympathy to the Japanese people following the devastation brought by the earthquake and tsunami.

He urged the candidate nurses and caregivers “to make the most out of the training to make them equipped and capable for their future jobs in Japan.

"You will go to Japan at a very critical time when the country undergoes massive rehabilitation and reconstruction. We can show our caring and commitment to a friendship with a country and a people who have been a strong partner in establishing the Philippine TVET System," Villanueva said.

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