It is estimated that about 127,000 children throughout Japan have stopped attending school because they simply don’t want to. It is a problem that seems to be getting worse despite the attention it has attracted.
The documentary “Manami-san ga Kyoshitsu Modotta (Manami Returns to Class)” (NHK-G, Monday, 10 p.m.) looks at the issue in Osaka, where some 10,000 children have stopped attending classes, the most of any prefecture in Japan. Three years ago, the local government launched a system in which specialized teachers worked full-time on the problem by visiting the homes of nonattending children and finding out why they have given up on school. As a result, 719 did return for the 2006 school year.