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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 November 27 - December 3  > More students quit high school for economic reasons: teachers’ union survey
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2019 November 27 - December 3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

More students quit high school for economic reasons: teachers’ union survey

November 29, 2019

The National Federation of Private School Teachers and Staff Unions (Shikyoren) on November 28 published the results of its 2019 survey of private high schools concerning students who were forced to quit school for economic reasons.

The union conducted the annual survey, which began in 1998, between April and September this year. It sent questionnaires to its member unions in private high schools across the country and received responses from 273 unions.

The survey found that the number of students who quit school due to their families’ financial difficulty stood at 20 (14 schools in nine prefectures) or 0.01% of students covered in the survey. The number and percentage went up for the first time in three years. On the other hand, 2,019 students in 204 schools were in arrears with their tuition fees for three months or more, which is less than 1% of the total, a record low. The percentage did not reach the 1% mark for four years in a row.

The questionnaire asked respondent teachers the reason why students were in arrears of tuitions or quit school halfway through. One teacher wrote that some students were unable to take supplementary classes because they had to work in part-time jobs in order to pay their tuition. Another stated that students who were busy working part-time and unable to get enough sleep at night often fell asleep during class. Many respondent teachers said that most students who were behind in their tuition payments were from single-parent families.

Shikyoren Chair Nagashima Tamio said, “The national government’s subsidy program and local governments’ tuition-reduction programs have been improved in recent years, which made it easier for children from low-income families to enter private high schools, but still not enough to solve their financial problems.” He stressed that in order to ensure students’ right to education, local governments need to take urgent measures to support students who are on the verge of quitting school.

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