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Parents speak out against rushed re-opening of schools in Australia

Oceania/ Australia/ Source;


Despite widespread concerns among parents and teachers, and repeated COVID-19 outbreaks in schools, the “national cabinet” formed by the Australian federal, state and territory governments has pushed most students back into face-to-face classes.

As is occurring internationally, these governments—Liberal-National and Labor alike—have rushed to reopen schools in order to fully open up the economy for corporate profit, placing the health and lives of teachers, parents and students at risk.

The national cabinet claims that social distancing is not necessary in schools and students are “low” risk of infection, despite admitting that reopening schools could result in further coronavirus clusters.

Teacher trade unions have backed and welcomed the return to classrooms, saying it will “bring stability” to teachers, principals and education support staff. The complicity of the unions has left parents to express their concerns through social media, establishing Facebook pages and petitions.

Under conditions where widespread testing is not being conducted, the governments and unions do not know the level of community infection but that has not prevented them from railroading students and teachers back into classes.

Last week in Britain, the Conservative government of Boris Johnson was forced to drop its plans to have all primary children back in school within the next four weeks. The temporary retreat is the result of millions of parents and educators opposing the government, in defiance of the education trade unions.

The reopening of schools in the two most populous Australian states, New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, has already resulted in multiple primary and secondary students testing positive to COVID-19, forcing temporary school closures.

Today, a third Victoria primary school in two days closed. Strathmore Primary School, in Melbourne’s inner-north, was shut for cleaning and contact tracing after a student became the fifth in the state to test positive for the coronavirus this week.

Yesterday, the Andrews state Labor government announced two such closures. Pakenham Springs primary school in Melbourne’s southeast, reported two students from the same family testing positive, so it would shut for 24 hours. St Dominic’s, a Roman Catholic school at Broadmeadows, in the city’s north said it would close for three days and all students who attended on June 2-3 should be tested for COVID-19.

All these schools are in working-class suburbs, as was an earlier cluster of at least 13 cases in Keilor Downs, which triggered the temporary closure of four schools, with more than 100 students and teachers self-isolating.

During past three weeks in NSW, four Sydney schools—Waverley College, Moriah College, Rose Bay primary school and Laguna Street primary school—have been forced to close for cleaning.

The Laguna Street school, in Sydney’s southern suburbs, closed last weekend for 10 days. A staff member had tested positive after being in contact with the majority of school members while infectious. This now means the self-isolation of over 450 students and staff for the next two weeks as well as the consequential impact on all their families.

Last month, Ash Parmar, a parent and president of the Parents and Citizens Committee (P&C) at a primary school in western Sydney, initiated a petition, signed by nearly 10,000 people, demanding that children not be treated as “guinea pigs” for dangerous government policies. Parents, he said, should be able to exercise their rights to protect their children, and called on the state government to keep providing an online learning platform for children not attending face-to-face classes.

One of the signatories explained: “If social distancing is proven to reduce the spreading of virus, then why does the same rule not apply to school classrooms? As if the virus will bypass school children and only target adults, which is obviously not the case. And if social distancing cannot be maintained in the classroom, then the NSW government should think again about their decision to force parents to send their children to school!”

The NSW government’s response has been both threatening and dismissive. Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: “Their children will be marked as absent.” Education Minister Sarah Mitchell insisted that “the pandemic would not be considered an adequate excuse to keep children at home.”

Implicit in their threat that “unexplained absences” of more than three days without a doctor’s certificate would be “followed up,” while not openly stated, was that truancy measures and fines could result.

In response, the petition organisers stated: “We are not asking anyone to change any policy. You are the one who is changing policies on the fly. The policy was that students at home can study through the e-learning platform. We just want that to stay on for a few weeks more till we get through this experiment. Absence codes used were always at the Principal’s discretion, leave it there.”

Since Berejiklian’s statement, parents have posted incidences where student absences were marked as unjustified, even when a doctor’s certificate was provided. Others wrote of the lack of consistency across schools, saying the policy seemed to differ from principal to principal. One parent who has two children at different schools wrote: “One was very understanding, the other not so much. We have a couple of weeks on the doctor’s certificate but not sure how things will go after that.”

Another parent commented: “The NSW premier threatened us if kids are off for 3 days. My kids will be off for 4 days as a protest. I hope other parents do the same, power in numbers. Hopefully the NSW premier goes back to the phased plan, or better yet, just opens a new school online for remote learning for parents that want and can keep kids at home and thereby helping to keep class sizes down.”

The intransigence of the governments, combined with the collaboration of the education unions, has forced parents, like teachers, to seek individual forms of action to protect their children.

Another teacher/parent voiced general distrust of the government’s motivations: “I don’t have faith in the politicians who have made this decision. I don’t have confidence that the school I work in or the other school I send my children to, will be safe for those who attend. I’ve seen the ‘cleaning’ and ‘contact tracing’ first hand. It’s a joke and this decision is driven by politics and greed, not public safety.”

The Committee for Public Education (CFPE) published a statement on May 28 opposing the rushed reopening of school systems in the states and territories where there is community transmission of COVID-19—currently NSW and Victoria. The statement called for the formation of safety action committees to protect the safety and wellbeing of students and staff threatened by the coronavirus pandemic.

This remains an urgent requirement. Rather than turning to individual courses of action to protect children, we urge parents to unite with teachers and other community members to form action committees within every school, independent of the unions and employers, with the aim of intervening to protect school communities.

We urge all parents and educators looking to develop this discussion to contact the CFPE.

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Japan may have the answer to Asia’s massive school absenteeism problem

Asia/ Japan/ 07.01.2020/ Source:

For some, school is a harrowing experience that students are forced to relive daily.

The long hours, vast amount of homework, the social pressure to perform academically, bullying, eating alone while others eat in groups, navigating through social cliques and just a general sense of not fitting in are just some of the cocktail of woes that make the experience overwhelming for some youths.

Dreading or hating school is common among some school-going children for various reasons, but the problem arises when students’ performance and mental well-being are affected as a result of attending school.

Are school systems to be blamed or does it suggest a problem with students?

Why students hate school


School can be brutal for students who struggle to fit in. Source: Shutterstock

Last year, a survey of primary school pupils in Hong Kong found that 21.7 percent complained of constant stress; common sources of pressure include too much homework, preparing for secondary school and unsatisfactory academic performance.

The figure was up 5.5 percentage points from a similar poll in 2016 and a three-year high.

Primary school student Javis Leung King-chung can relate.

“I was in school and my teacher said my class was too naughty, so although we started lessons at 7am, we had to stay on to work until 7pm,” the eight-year-old told the South China Morning Post.

“With our shocked looks and disgruntled sounds, the teacher then said we had to stay for 15 more hours. The more startled we became, the more the teacher kept increasing the hours. In the end, we had to stay for three days. I was so scared.”

Back in 2012, The Japan Times reported student Yuki Ujiie’s recollection of junior high school where he was beaten by bullies, ignored by his classmates and forced to eat alone when everyone else lunched in groups. When his teacher suggested that he join a girl’s group during lunchtime, he stopped going to school the very next day.

In a BBC report, 10-year-old Yuta Ito had been reluctantly attending his primary school as he was often bullied and kept fighting with his classmates. After telling his family that he no longer wanted to attend school, his parents sent him to a free school where he’s much happier.

Combatting absenteeism in schools – the rise of free schools in Japan

School-can-be-brutal-for-students-who-struggle-to-fit-in  more-and-more-children-are-refusing-to-go-to-school-in-Japan

Many young students in Japan are reportedly refusing to go to school. Source: Shutterstock

BBC report notes that more and more children are refusing to go to school in Japan, a phenomenon called “futoko”. Futokos are children who don’t go to school for more than 30 days, for reasons unrelated to health or finances, notes Japan’s education ministry.

Absenteeism in schools is rising in the country. On October 17, the government said absenteeism among elementary and junior high school students had hit a record high, with 164,528 children absent for 30 days or more during 2018, up from 144,031 in 2017.

Free schools were established in Japan in the 1980s in response to the growing number of futokos. These alternative schools are not free, but provide students with a more fluid learning environment, bereft of the rigid rules typically associated with Japanese national schools, such as exuding control over students’ appearances.

BBC notes that the number of students attending free or alternative schools instead of regular schools has spiked – from 7,424 in 1992 to 20,346 in 2017.

For example, students enrolled in the Tamagawa Free School in Tokyo don’t need to wear a uniform, are free to choose their activities and are also encouraged to follow their individual skills and interests.

Speaking to the BBC, Takashi Yoshikawa, the head of the school, believes that communication problems are at the root of most students’ refusal to attend school; as such, the school’s purpose is to develop students’ social skills.

This is done through various ways, including exercising, playing games or studying; the important thing is to learn not to panic when students are in a large group.

Meanwhile, Professor Ryo Uchida, an education expert at Nagoya University, said large class sizes can be problematic to pupils. He said comradeship is the key ingredient to surviving life in Japan due to the country’s high population density. Failing to get along and co-ordinate with others lessens one’s chances of survival.

However, the need to conform is a problem for many students who may feel uncomfortable in overcrowded classrooms. Professor Uchida said the support provided by free schools is very meaningful, as they care less about the group and value the thoughts and feelings of each student.

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Teaching degrees miss the mark on reading instruction

By: Pallavi Singhal.

All primary school teaching degrees in Australia are missing fundamental components on teaching children to read, which is leading to as many as one in five students falling behind by year 4.

Only 4 per cent of university units have a specific focus on early reading instruction, while 70 per cent do not mention any of the five key elements of reading instruction that are recognised by the NSW Department of Education, a new analysis of 116 literacy units in 66 degrees at 38 universities across the country has found.

‘I suspect it’s a big factor in why we have a large number of children not meeting reading and writing benchmarks,’ said Jennifer Buckingham, the lead author of a new study.

Nearly one in five students and as many as one in four students in some states and territories didn’t meet the country’s proficient standard for reading by year 4, the results of the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study show.

«University education faculties just have not updated their courses to reflect enormous developments in cognitive science and reading research over the last 30 or 40 years,» said Jennifer Buckingham, the lead author of the study and a senior research fellow at literacy instruction provider MultiLit.

«I suspect that’s a big factor in why we have a large number of children not meeting reading and writing benchmarks.

«Principals are saying it takes a few years to catch teachers up who haven’t been given this knowledge base as part of their training.»

However, the head of one education faculty said that universities teach all three components of English that are outlined in the Australian curriculum, which covers reading instruction, and teaching graduates meet Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership standards.

«If I showed you all the slides from powerpoints and lectures, you’d find that all those elements of reading instruction are in there, they just don’t always get packaged up exactly like that,» associate head of the school of education at the University of South Australia Sue Nichols said.

«I can tell you that we teach those things categorically. What I’d like to see is more connectivity between schools and teacher education so they can come in and see exactly what we’re doing.»

The new report finds that in some university courses, literacy isn’t taught beyond the second year and that about 9 per cent of teachers graduating in 2018 did not pass the literacy component of a compulsory test introduced by the federal government.

Paul McDermott, principal at Blue Haven Public School on NSW’s Central Coast, said there is an «enormous gap» between university students’ knowledge of reading instruction and the teaching strategies used by top-performing schools.

«It’s not just new teachers, we spend a lot of time training and retraining staff,» he said.

«We’re quite authentic to the research around reading and our results reflect that. [Teachers] are up and running very quickly but it does take them time to catch up to what we do as a school.»

Blue Haven Public has gone from improving student results in NAPLAN reading tests at well below the improvement rate of similar schools between 2012 and 2014 to having significantly above-average gains between 2016 and 2018.

Mr McDermott attributed the improvement to their use of evidence-based reading instruction, including a focus on the five essential elements of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension, which should be taught explicitly according to literacy researchers and the NSW Department of Education’s Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation.

«They’re taught very little of that at university and a lot of schools out there probably don’t have the systems in place to teach these things,» Mr McDermott said.

«If teachers came in highly trained in the evidence, that would certainly make a massive difference to kids.»

The report recommends that all initial teacher education programs be required to demonstrate that they include evidence-based reading instruction techniques in adequate depth to be accredited, that literacy units be included in every year of teaching courses to «prevent a long gap between study and practice» and that ability to teach reading be included in graduate standards.

Peak body Universities Australia did not respond to requests for comment.

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Scaling education programs in the Philippines: A policymaker’s perspective

By: Rosalina Villaneza.

In 2016, 586,284 childrenof primary school age in the Philippines were out of school, underscoring demand for large-scale programs to address unmet learning needs. As a chief education program specialist in the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines, I have firsthand experience planning, implementing, and monitoring and evaluating a variety of education programs. One of our main challenges is ensuring that effective initiatives, such as with our teacher professional development program, take root and grow into sustainable, system-wide approaches for improving teacher quality and encouraging responsive instructional practices to improve learning outcomes.

With the implementation of the K-12 Basic Education Program, DepEd has taken significant strides toward fulfilling its mandate of establishing a comprehensive and integrated education system relevant to the needs of people and society. The program aims to develop productive, responsible, and engaged global citizens with the essential competencies and skills for lifelong learning and employment. We believe this begins by ensuring every child of primary school age acquires basic literacy and numeracy skills.

How was DepEd able to improve literacy and numeracy skills in recent years? We began by articulating a clear vision that focused on teachers, as they play a fundamental role in developing these skills among their students. I worked closely with my team of education experts to retool teachers’ mastery of content knowledge and pedagogical skills so they could effectively lead in the classroom. In 2015, we introduced the Early Language, Literacy, and Numeracy Program (ELLN) to improve reading and numeracy skills of K-3 learners. ELLN strengthened teacher capacity to teach and assess reading and numeracy skills, improved school administration and management, established competency standards, and introduced a school-based professional development system for teachers, the “School Learning Action Cell” (SLAC). ELLN trained teachers through a ten-day, face-to-face training module. While this approach had some impact, it was not to the extent we hoped—we wanted to reach the entire country. We understood that scaling an in-person training would be costly and time-consuming to reach primary grade teachers in all schools throughout the country. Because of this, my DepEd colleagues and I began thinking about ways we could harness technology to deliver improved teacher professional development at a national scale.

Before we selected an approach for delivering technology-enabled teacher professional development, we decided to test some things to see what worked. Over a five-month period from November 2016 to March 2017, we piloted ELLN-Digital (ELLN-D) with 4,030 K-3 teachers in 240 public elementary schools that had not participated in the ELLN program. During this piloting phase, we collaborated with the local Filipino NGO, The Foundation for Information Technology, Education, and Development (FIT-ED). ELLN-D is a blended teacher professional development program on early literacy for K-3 teachers with two components: an interactive, multimedia courseware for self-study, and collaborative learning through SLACs. Due to the success of the pilot, DepEd is scaling up the program nationally (with support from FIT-ED) to more than 38,000 public elementary schools throughout the country during this coming school year. We accomplished this by planning for scale from the start: We prioritized a focus on teachers, then pursued digital solutions that could reach teachers across our island nation—experimenting at a small scale first to determine what works—and finally implemented the program through existing SLAC structures instead of creating new ones.


Analyzing education programs that sustainably scale offers rich insights for people like me who work in government and are trying to serve a massive population with limited resources. What common factors enable programs to scale? Who should programs serve? How can program implementers facilitate the success of programs?

First, programs that sustainably scale are relevant and responsive to the needs of the people they serve. Second, these programs should demonstrate some meaningful change that is visible to citizens. And third, to effectively scale a program, implementers should truly understand and commit to the program, believe in its success, and go above and beyond what is expected to achieve sustainable outcomes.

In the Philippines, the following approaches helped us to create, adapt, and scale programs with the aim of sustainable impact:

  • Identify learning champions at all levels: There is a need to identify and empower a pool of champions at multiple levels of the system—in the regions, divisions, communities, and schools. By doing so, these champions become agents of change. In the case of ELLN, regional directors play a critical role in implementing the program by liaising with school division superintendents and public school leaders.
  • Adapt programs to local context: Those implementing programs at larger scale or in new locations should be equipped to make the programs work in their areas by contextualizing approaches to suit local needs. This includes identifying and articulating the “non-negotiables” of the original design to ensure adherence to a set standard, but those implementing in new contexts should feel agency to adjust to fit local needs. Setting specific standards on program implementation through policy guidelines or memoranda can help maintain the appropriate level of consistency in implementation between different areas. On ELLN-D, we encourage slight variations in the structure and format of SLACs in ways that make sense for a given context.
  • Recognize that every idea is valuable: It is important to allow champions to implement the program with standardized guidance but recognize that adjustments and changes are not only inevitable but also beneficial. Have faith that even when the originating organization or institution is no longer around, others implementing can successfully deliver the programs and have sustained positive impact on the people they serve.

Thirty-four years working in government has provided me ample opportunity to stress-test these principles, which I believe are critically important to sustainably scaling programs. Through the implementation of ELLN, ELLN-D, and similar initiatives as part of the K-12 Basic Education Program, DepEd has fully committed to providing quality, accessible, and relevant basic education to all Filipino learners. The road ahead will not be an easy one, but through adherence to these key principles, scaling effective interventions that reach all Filipino learners will help our country continue down the path toward quality educational opportunities for all citizens.

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Nigeria: Ekiti begins mass recruitment of primary school teachers

Africa/ Nigeria/ 07.08.2019/ Source:

The Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) on Monday commenced the process of recruiting teachers into public primary schools in the state.

A statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ado-Ekiti by the Executive Chairman of SUBEB, Prof. Francisca Aladejana, said the planned mass recruitment was sequel to the approval of Gov. Kayode Fayemi.

According to her, the governor has directed the board to fill vacancies in public primary schools in the state without delay.

She said that application forms would be distributed free to applicants at the SUBEB headquarters in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday and Wednesday between 8 am. and 4 pm.

Aladejana stated further that only applicants with verifiable credentials would be allowed to obtain the application forms.

She advised interested applicants with prerequisite qualifications to visit the SUBEB headquarters to collect their forms which must be submitted in person at the same venue on or before Friday for processing.

According to her, qualifying examination will hold on Aug. 17 at Ado-Ekiti, Ikere-Ekiti, Ikole-Ekiti, Ido-Ekiti, Ijero-Ekiti and Ode-Ekiti.

The SUBEB chairman warned that the board would not accept application forms submitted late .

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A play-based and non-didactic approach to primary education


Vibrant classrooms with engaged teachers are an integral part of the New Education Policy vision

Puducherry has systematically gone about starting pre-primary classes in all its government primary schools. Anyone you ask there, they point to this levelling of the playing field as a key reason for enrolment increases in these schools, and the drop on that metric in private schools. Many teachers in Puducherry, on their own initiative, have expanded the “play-based» and “non-didactic» pedagogical approach of pre-primary classes to primary classes. Both these matters, on which action is visible in Puducherry, pre-empts the draft National Education Policy 2019 (NEP).

Gomathy was teaching class 3 at the Savarirayalu Government Primary School in Puducherry. The students were involved in addition of 3- and 4-digit numbers, working in five groups of five students each. Each group had some locally made (or very low-cost) pedagogical aids to help with the exercise. Observation made it clear that each group had a mix of students based on their comfort with the exercise. Gomathy ensured that students who were at ease with the problems did not dominate the proceedings and helped others who were struggling.

Energy was flowing in the class, with kids racing to their teacher for more problem sheets after finishing one. Gomathy explained how the school’s teachers had collectively decided to adopt a “cohort-teacher» approach, meaning the same teacher teaches a cohort of students all subjects as they progress from class to class, till they move out from primary school. This system is very useful in the early classes, when the basis of learning is primarily the relationship of trust and care between students and teachers. Learning from experience, they had tweaked this system to ensure that no cohort of students is put at a disadvantage by the cohort-teacher’s limitations.

Such vibrant, adequately resourced classrooms, with engaged teachers who have an empathetic relationship with their students, are an integral part of the NEP’s vision. So is the importance of empowerment of schools to take key educational decisions. It also highlights the centrality of the role of teachers, and the importance of “professional learning communities» of teachers.

Gomathy surprised me when she told me that she had translated Chapter 14 (National Research Foundation) of the NEP into Tamil. Her initiative and competence are not limited to school classrooms. She was as a part of a collective civil society exercise to translate the entire 484 pages of the NEP to Tamil. Later in the evening at a consultation meeting on the NEP, I saw the result of this remarkable effort—neatly printed Tamil versions of the Policy. About 40 people were involved in this effort, most of them government school teachers.

Over the course of the next three days, I was in three such meetings across the country, attended mostly by teachers and activists for public education. These were lively discussions. There were several clarifications, many constructive suggestions, a few disagreements, and a widespread acknowledgement of the much-needed transformations of Indian education that the NEP lays out. With hundreds of such points of feedback, the NEP in its final form will surely be significantly improved.

In sharp contrast to such constructive engagement is the reaction of some educationists. Many have read non-existent sections and intentions into the draft. As an example, many have seen the horrors of commercialization and privatization writ in the NEP, despite the painstaking effort of the committee to underline the importance of public education. Others are exhibiting narcissism of small differences. Both sets are being irresponsible to the very causes that they have fought for most of their lives. Because most of these causes, fought and advocated by almost everyone committed to a vibrant public education system, including these educationists, are now integral to the NEP.

Such educationists also seem to be losing sight of the fundamental nature of public policymaking—always an exercise in negotiation and balance between contending perspectives. Education in our country is a tricky battlefield. Any policy initiative that manages to stick to basic principles and succeeds in avoiding egregious mistakes or surrendering to fringe interests is definitely a success. The Kasturirangan committee has done more; while avoiding such mistakes with remarkable diligence, it has actually created a blueprint for what most in education have for decades wished for.

The final word goes to one of the wisest and most competent of public administrators in the country, who wryly commented at the end of a consultation meeting with a large group of powerful people in education, “If so many people with deep vested interests are dead against the NEP, it must be absolutely the right thing to do; let’s implement it immediately.»

Until our public intellectuals of whatever hue, liberal, left, centrist or right leaning, are more thoughtful about the reality of policymaking, are alive to the political moment, and are intellectually non-partisan, policymakers will continue to be very suspicious of experts. And that is not good for society in the long run.

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Japan’s junior high school teachers face longest average working hours in OECD survey

Asia/ Japan/ 08.07.2019/ Source:


Japanese junior high school teachers worked the longest hours on average among 48 countries and regions surveyed by the OECD, it said Wednesday.

Junior high teachers in the country worked 56 hours per week on average, compared with 38.3 hours a week among all of the participants in the “2018 Teaching and Learning International Survey.”

It is the second time in a row that the OECD has found that Japanese teachers work the longest hours, and their hours increased an average of 2.1 hours from the previous survey in 2013.

Similarly, primary school teachers in Japan worked 54.4 hours a week, longer than their peers in 15 countries and economies surveyed.

The survey for Japan was conducted by the Paris-based institution from February to March 2018, with questionnaires sent to 3,568 junior high school teachers, 3,321 elementary school teachers and around 400 principals.

The education ministry decided in January to cap overtime for teachers at 45 hours per month, or 360 hours over 12 months.

A junior high school teacher spent an average of 7.5 hours per week on students’ extracurricular club activities, compared with the overall average of 1.9 hours a week, while administrative work took up 5.6 hours, compared with the total average of 2.7 hours.

Primary school teachers in Japan spent longer on planning, preparing lessons and paperwork than those in other countries. Such teachers devoted an average of 0.6 hour to extracurricular activities.

Japan’s new curriculum guidelines promote deeper learning through independent and interactive means, but the percentage of secondary school teachers who frequently or always gave “tasks that require students to think critically” was 12.6 percent, the lowest figure and a far cry from the 61 percent average among all the countries surveyed.

Further, only 16.1 percent of teachers in Japan presented “tasks for which there is no obvious solution,” compared with the 37.5 percent average among all the countries surveyed.

A 57-year-old teacher at a public junior high school in Saitama Prefecture said much of the overtime at his school is not recorded. As a veteran teacher, he is loaded with tasks, such as helping managers and taking care of younger teachers. He arrives at work just after 6 a.m. and finishes work at 7 p.m. at the earliest. On his busiest days, he works until around 9 p.m. He sometimes has to clear his backlog of work before and after the school’s extracurricular activities that he supervises on weekends.

A board of education in his local area has set a goal of not exceeding 80 hours of overtime per month, which is regarded as the threshold for karōshi, or death caused by overwork. His school introduced a system to keep track of teachers’ work hours about six months ago.

The teacher’s amount of monthly overtime topped 80 hours in April, yet his managers only prodded him to leave work as early as possible, and the school has shown little intention of overhauling teachers’ assignments in detail.

The man has since learned to record fewer hours than he has actually worked. Many of his colleagues do likewise.

“The number of work hours has decreased, when you take it at face value,” the teacher said. “But that is meaningless.”

Another teacher at a public junior high school in Tokyo said he now has reduced workloads related to extracurricular activities and other tasks.

But the 35-year-old still works 80 to 100 hours of overtime per month. He said he spends a lot of time attending to students’ parents and other things.

“The amount of work for teachers has been increasing for the sake of students. We should consider what it really means to ‘serve students well’ and review our work,” he said.

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