Japan to cut teachers' working hours amid 'serious' rise in mental health problems

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Japan to cut teachers' working hours amid 'serious' rise in mental health problems

The number of teachers taking leave due to mental illness in Japan’s public schools is set to reach a record high of 6,539 in fiscal 2022, a government survey showed, with the increase amid the Covid-19 pandemic as a potential factor. The workload has been stated.

The figure for the year to March was 642 more than the previous year, marking the second consecutive annual increase. The Education Ministry said this amount accounted for 0.71 percent of all teachers in primary, junior and high schools, as well as special needs schools, or 1 in 140 individuals.

The number of teachers taking leave due to mental illness has fluctuated around 5,000 in recent years, but has increased by more than 1,300 in the two years since fiscal 2020, when the coronavirus began to spread.

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Education experts said the increase was partly due to increased workloads due to the pandemic, such as the need to take infection prevention measures, but they also cited a rising trend in complaints from students’ parents.

The shortage of schoolteachers has been a serious problem in Japan, experts said, with young people avoiding entering professions with heavy workloads, while also noting that more teachers are taking leave due to illness or childbirth.

Recognizing the situation as a “serious challenge”, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology will promote improvements in working style, including reducing paperwork and addressing long working hours.

According to the survey covering personnel status, by age group, the largest number of teachers were in their 30s at 1,867, followed by 1,786 in their 50s, 1,598 in their 40s and 1,288 in their 20s.

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Why the Japanese shy away from teaching: long hours, low pay, risk of dying on the job

Meanwhile, the number of teachers punished or reprimanded for sexual violence stood at 242 in fiscal year 2022, above 200 for the 10th consecutive year, with 98 percent of the total teachers being male teachers, the same survey showed.

Of these, 119 were punished for crimes against students, 42 teachers were punished for having sexual relations with a student, followed by 32 for molestation and 21 for voyeurism or voyeurism. It said that about 30 per cent of the cases of malpractice were committed during this period. Working hours during break time and club activities.

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The report said the number of teachers punished for administering corporal punishment – ​​another major problem involving teachers in Japan – totaled 397, up 54 from fiscal 2021 and reversing a declining trend.

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