UC, Momotarokai to offer Nihonggo class

Johanna O. Bajenting

WITH Japan opening its labor market to 400,000 workers across all industries, the University of Cebu-Banilad (UC) will start offering Nihonggo classes in February targeting nurses and caregivers.

Augusto W. Go, president and chairman of UC, said with Japan’s rapid ageing rate, the country saw the need to hire more nurses and caregivers to aid its elderly population. Nursing and caregiving are the priority professions Japan has identified.

“Japan’s ageing population is growing much faster than other countries. Population growth is not zero but negative so Japan needs a lot of workers. There are many old people,” Go said.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, UC entered into a memorandum of agreement with nursing home and handicapped services firm Momotarokai Social Welfare Corp. to teach students to speak the Japanese language. This program is in line with the Philippine-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.

Located in Okayama Prefecture, the Momotarokai facility has a 340-bed capacity with an annual 100 percent occupancy rate. It currently has 450 patients under its care.

Mariko Ito, chairperson of the board of directors of Momotarokai, said Filipinos are very dear to their hearts because of the innate lively characteristic that helps the elderly through the process of healing.

“The main characteristic of Filipinos is liveliness because most of the elderly live very lonely lives. With the help of Filipino caregivers, their emotions are lifted up,” she said.

The facility currently employs around 35 Filipinos with other Asian nationalities like Indonesian and Vietnamese.

With Japan experiencing a super ageing society where more than one out of five individuals are aged 65 or older, the country needed 250 to 300 nurses and caregivers in 2019 alone.

“We have to prepare in advance how to speak the Japanese language so that when the floodgates open, we will not miss out on that opportunity,” Go said.

The average monthly salary of a registered caregiver in Japan is around P70,000 to P120,000, depending on the position he or she holds in the facility.

This is the ninth year that UC has offered the Japanese language proficiency in health care.

The Nihonggo class will start on Feb. 3, 2020, and will run for six months.

The class is open for graduates of Bachelor of Science in Nursing, board passers, graduates of any four-year course who are certified as caregivers by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority with National Competency Level 11 skill.