Japan Eyes Cutting Back Excess Classroom Hours

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry plans to ask public elementary and junior high schools to cut total lesson hours from fiscal 2024 if they are confirmed to be significantly above the state-set standard.

The ministry intends to check up on total classroom hours at all public elementary and junior high schools across the country by the end of this year. The move is aimed at reducing teachers’ workload.

Measures have been taken to address long working hours of teachers. For example, some schools are having more staff who assist teachers in tasks such as printing handouts and receiving phone calls, and in other cases, private-sector staff are replacing teachers in overseeing extracurricular activities.

On the other hand, their main job of teaching has become increasingly busy. Pundits point out that the long classroom hours per teacher are also responsible for overworking.