Promoting “recurrent education,” returning to school and reemployment

November 28 , 2017

Komeito Women’s Committee members discuss recurrent education program on Sep. 19Komeito Women’s Committee members discuss recurrent education program on Sep. 19

The Women’s Committee of Komeito is promoting a measure to support the further education and reemployment of women who have resigned from their jobs for marriage or childbirth or other reasons. The measure, referred to as “recurrent education,” is outlined below:

• “Recurrent education” refers to working-age individuals who pursue further education as and when they feel it is necessary.

• The current rate of working women between the age of 25 and 39 who have also given birth and raising dependents is significantly lower than past generations. What is required is improved working conditions for women who are also mothers.

• Japan Women’s University began a career-focused program in 2007 for women who left their jobs for childrearing, helping them prepare for reemployment.

• Up to 60% of the program is subsided by a government scholarship supporting specialized training programs. Women who are graduates of a four-year university and have working experience are eligible to apply. The program offers courses in skills to help students meet the needs of a changing labor landscape, skills such as English language acquisition, computer skills, corporate writing techniques, marketing and accounting, among others.

• According to fiscal 2015 statistics, the program had a 90% completion rate, and apart from those who were pregnant or nursing, almost all graduates successfully reentered the workforce. At the start of the program, 9.8% of students were regular salaried employees, 43.1% were part time workers, and 43.1% were housewives. By the end of the course, 47% signed on as regular salaried employees and 25% signed full-time or temp work contracts, resulting in a significant rise in employment.

• In March 2017, Komeito’s task force for work reform submitted a proposal to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling for expanded benefits for the recurrent education program, including more funds, longer payout period and night and weekend courses.

• Whereas the scholarship was previously applicable only to those who joined the program within four years of leaving their job, due to Komeito’s efforts, the eligibility period will be extended to those who join within 20 years of leaving the workforce starting January 2018. The percentage of costs covered will also increase from 60% to 70%.

• Komeito continues to support the pursuit of further education. The party submitted another proposal to the prime minister urging further support of measures on November 24.