At a time when working knowledge of a foreign language is considered an advantage in the job market, an increasing number of people in the city have taken to learning Japanese.

“Many working professionals and college students have started learning Japanese since it widens their scope for employment. Moreover, as Japanese companies are shifting their gaze from Chennai to southern districts, this interest will only grow,” says Vimala Solomon, Director, Surya Nihongo Gakko, a Japanese language teaching institute in the city.

The institute trains students for Japanese language proficiency examinations and also offers spoken Japanese courses. “There is always a demand for translators and many homemakers, who chose to work from home, acquire skill in the language and take up online translation assignments. Many Japanese companies look for interpreters and there is scope for employment for them as well,” Ms. Vimala says.

More than 600 students have enrolled in the Japanese course at Sethu Institute of Technology. “During recruitment drive, those with working knowledge of a foreign language are preferred to others. Our primary aim is to enable the students to become conversant in it,” says P. Amutha, Assistant Professor of Japanese at the college.

Among schools, Sri Saradha Vidyavanam Matriculation Higher Secondary School has twice-a-week Japanese language classes as part of extra-curricular activities. “It is taught from fourth standard and there has been an increase in the number of students interested in learning it,” says R. Jeyalakshmi, a Japanese language teacher in the school. “I chose to become a teacher after attending an intensive course in Japanese a few years ago. With more schools planning to introduce Japanese, people learning the language can opt to become teachers as well,” she says.

“During recruitment drive, those with working knowledge of a foreign language are preferred to others”

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