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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 July 2 - 8  > Workload for teachers in Japan stands out in world
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2014 July 2 - 8 TOP3 [LABOR]

Workload for teachers in Japan stands out in world

July 6, 2014
Akahata editorial (excerpt)

An OECD survey shows that junior high school teachers in Japan work extensively longer than those who teach in other OECD countries.

Teaching staff in Japan work 53.9 hours a week on average, more than 15 hours longer than the average number of weekly working hours of teachers in 34 surveyed nations (38.3 hours). Japanese teachers spend the longest time at work, according to the survey.

The All Japan Teachers and Staffs Union (Zenkyo) also conducted a similar survey which revealed that one out of three teachers in Japan shoulder more than 80 hours of overtime a month, the government-set danger line for death from overwork, so-called karoshi.

The best way to alleviate excessive long working hours is to increase the number of school teachers and staff. School principals in Japan in response to the OECD question regarding what adversely affects the provision of high-quality education stated that it is a shortage of teaching staff (79.7%). The percentage of responses indicating shortage of staff is more than twice the average of the polled states (38.4%).

The OECD data shows that Japanese teachers spend 5.5 hours on administrative work, amounting to nearly twice that of teachers in other countries.

Compared to the average 2.1 hours teachers in the 34 OECD member states use for club and other after-school activities, those in Japan spend 7.7 hours on average which is 3.7 times more than other nations.

Japan’s legislation prohibits school authorities from ordering teachers to work overtime, except for special occasions. Accordingly, it stipulates that teachers are not eligible for overtime payment. However, the related laws overlook “voluntary” overtime work for long hours without extra pay. It is necessary to improve legal frameworks to put a stop to excessively long hours of work.

Past related articles:
> Teachers suffer from long working hours [January 22, 2014]
> Teachers work 91 hours of overtime a month [October 18, 2013]
> Teachers work more than 90 hours overtime every month [February 17, 2013]
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