Japanese government promises reduced teacher responsibilities, right to refuse club supervision

Anyone who has ever taught or known a teacher knows how intense the workload can be — all over the world, teachers find themselves left adrift against a current of curriculums and nights spent grading papers, only to be rewarded with complaints and abuse from students, parents, and higher-ups alike.

In Japan, things get even more intense for junior high school educators. Junior high school is when kids start joining extracurricular clubs and sports teams, and those need supervisors. Club activities can take place both before and after school and occasionally on weekends, and portions of summer vacation are carved out for events like competitions or performances.

One might wonder, then, when Japanese junior high school teachers are supposed to have time to do the other thousands of responsibilities they have to their students…and failing that, if there’s ever any time for them to get a break.

The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology is taking steps to address this problem by reforming club activities into “local activities”, meaning that local sports clubs, community workers, or gym staff could feasibly supervise in teachers’ stead. This also addresses the issue of teachers assigned to a club being unable to provide helpful guidance to their students; teachers are frequently assigned to sports or cultural clubs without any expertise in the club’s subject matter, meaning they can’t field student questions or give useful advice.

The reforms are expected to be put into practice in junior high schools three years from now, with high school reforms to follow suit depending on results. Response to the announced reforms was largely positive, although various netizens seemed doubtful that community figures would be capable of supervising the rowdy teens you’d expect to find in a junior high school club meeting.

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Sep 14

Anyone who has ever taught or known a teacher knows how intense the workload can be — all over the world, teachers find themselves left adrift against a current of curriculums and nights spent grading papers, only to be rewarded with complaints and abuse from students, parents, and higher-ups alike. (Japan Today)

Sep 10

A new survey shows that about 80 percent of the children who contracted the coronavirus in Japan were likely infected by family members.

Sep 10

A 4-year-old boy died after choking on a large grape while eating lunch at a Tokyo kindergarten and police have launched a probe into the accident, investigators said Tuesday. (Japan Times)

Sep 06

These are are the most used and popular Japanese slang today. These must-know Japanese words are used commonly by younger Japanese people but also used by older ones. (Paolo fromTOKYO)

Sep 04

Japan has ranked 20th out of 38 in a UNICEF report on the well-being of children in the world’s richest countries.

Sep 01

Many Japanese towns are losing population. This is what one Japanese town did with its abandoned schools. (Life Where I’m From)

Aug 31

A new work permit introduced by Japan for overseas workers to help alleviate chronic labor shortages in certain industries has made an unexpectedly poor start, with only 3,987 of them obtaining the “specific skills visa” in the first year of the program, or less than 10 percent of the government’s target. (Japan Times)

Aug 27

Archaeologists have unearthed 1,500 human remains from a 19th-century burial site in Osaka. Experts believe the bones belong to local residents who may have perished in an epidemic that swept the region in the 1800s. (dw.com)

Aug 27

Women accounted for a record 45.5 percent of students enrolled in university courses in Japan as of May 1, the provisional results of a recent government study showed Tuesday.

Aug 26

Foreign trainees will be allowed to switch jobs and stay in Japan even after their technical internship programs have ended, as some of them are unable to return home amid the coronavirus pandemic, the government said Tuesday. (Japan Times)

Aug 25

Over 20 percent of the public in Japan accept esports as high school club activity, a recent Jiji Press opinion survey has shown. (Japan Times)

Aug 24

Hyogo prefectural Police have arrested a 33-year-old male teacher for allegedly planting a hidden camera inside a changing area for men at a bath in Akashi City, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Aug. 24). (tokyoreporter.com)

Aug 23

Japan has decided to ease entry restrictions for foreign students, imposed to curb the coronavirus, possibly within this month, government sources said Saturday.
(Japan Today)

Aug 22

The number of people from the University of Tokyo who passed the fiscal 2020 career-track civil service examination has dropped to 249, the lowest since fiscal 1998, when the data first became available, the National Personnel Authority said Friday. (Japan Times)

Aug 21

In the aftermath of Japan’s defeat in Manchuria, sexual abuse termed then as “sexual entertainment” happened. During the Second World War, some 600 people from the formerly Kurokawa village in Gifu Prefecture settled in Manchuria under a government plan. (TV ASAHI)

Aug 17

Many schools across the nation reopened Monday after summer vacations were shortened to allow students to catch up on classes missed when schools closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
(Japan Times)

Aug 15

When Kyoto University professor Shinya Yamanaka won the Nobel Prize in 2012 for his work on stem cells, Edvinas Cerniauskas, then 21, became interested in the field and soon began to plan how he could come to Japan and study at the cutting edge.
(Japan Times)

Aug 14

With people think of a Japanese city with a rich cultural legacy, Kyoto is the first place that springs to mind, but Osaka is no slouch in the historical significance department either. (soranews24.com)

Aug 11

Ninety-one people at a high school in Shimane Prefecture have tested positive in recent days for the novel coronavirus in a cluster outbreak centered on the boys’ soccer team, according to local authorities. (Japan Times)

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