Publisher Apologizes for Entertaining Educators

February 5, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. suspiciously / səˈspɪʃ əs li / (adv.) – in a way that seems wrong
Example: The man in the black cap is acting suspiciously

2. interpret / ɪnˈtɜr prɪt / (v.) – to understand
Example: Her silence was interpreted as a ‘yes’ to his question.

3. bypass / ˈbaɪˌpæs / (v.) – to work around or avoid steps in a system
Example: Some organizations try to bypass the rules by cheating.

4. on the line / ɒn ðə laɪn / (idiom) – being at risk
Example: The company’s reputation is on the line after the scandal happened.

5. cover / ˈkʌv ər / (v.) – to pay for something
Example: The company covered my travel expenses when I went to Japan. 


Read the text below.
Japanese publisher Sanseido Co. apologized for suspiciously entertaining 11 educators in a meeting on August 23, 2014.

In the editorial meeting, Sanseido Co. received opinions from principals and teachers regarding the English textbook that was being screened by Japan's education ministry.  The principals and teachers were paid “editing fees” of ¥50,000 each. The company also paid for travel and accommodation expenses and organized social gatherings for the principals.

Publishers are forbidden from showing materials for government screening to outsiders, let alone principals who will advise local boards of education which textbooks should be used in public schools. Thus, the editorial meeting can be interpreted as an attempt to bypass the textbook selection process.

An internal investigation revealed that seven editorial meetings were held since 2009 in a Tokyo hotel. Fifty-three elementary and junior high school teachers from 26 prefectures were invited to preview Japanese and English textbooks. The company submitted their findings to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology on December 7 last year and promptly apologized in a news conference.  The ministry promised to determine whether the company's action tainted the overall textbook selection process.

Sanseido Co. is not the only Japanese publisher whose reputation is on the line. Last month, Tokyo Shoseki Co. submitted a report about an expanded editorial meeting that happened in 2010. Thirty English teachers from western Japan were shown textbooks that were undergoing government screening. Aside from their travel and accommodation expenses being covered by the company, the said teachers also received ¥10,000 each. 

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, should the educators involved in the scandals also be penalized? Why or why not?
·         What are some actions that governments can do to prevent scandals like this?

Discussion B

·         In what other companies or industries is this type of scandal a common practice? Enumerate as many as you can.
·         How do you think those who commit this type of scandal should be punished?

February 5, 2016