Less than 10% of public schools have Saturday classes

JIJI

Less than 10 percent of all public schools in Japan held Saturday classes in fiscal 2012, according to the education ministry.

Just 8.8 percent of elementary schools, 9.9 percent of junior high schools and 3.8 percent of high schools had classes on Saturdays, a ministry survey found.

Seventeen percent of prefectural boards of education said they believe Saturday classes at elementary and junior high schools are necessary, compared with 25 percent of boards of education in the nation’s 20 largest cities and 10.9 percent in the other municipalities.

No prefectural boards were against the idea, but 15 percent in the 20 biggest cities and 30.4 percent in the other municipalities expressed opposition to Saturday classes.

On the need for Saturday classes in high school, 9.1 percent of the boards in the 47 prefectures and 20 major cities and 5.6 percent of those in the other municipalities agreed. Meanwhile, 9.1 percent of the prefectural and big city boards and 22.2 percent of those in the other municipalities expressed opposition.

Education minister Hakubun Shimomura said at a news conference that the ministry hopes to support schools through a Saturday education promotion plan it has included in its budget request for fiscal 2014.