Exacerbating the worsening problem of truancy, an estimated 10,100 students who did attend school last year spent most of their time in infirmaries, double the corresponding figure for 1990, according to a report released by the Education Ministry.
There were an estimated 2,800 such students at elementary schools, 5,700 at junior high schools and 1,600 at high schools.
In a report that surveyed infirmaries at 372 elementary, junior high and high schools nationwide last October, the ministry said that 12.1 percent of elementary schools, 37.1 percent of junior high schools and 19.4 percent of high schools had at least one student who comes to school but remains at the infirmary.
These students, whose presence the ministry classifies as “infirmary attendance,” either remain at the infirmary all the time or attend some classes, but spend most class periods at the infirmary. Such a state is often considered to be a preliminary symptom that might develop into truancy or signifies part of the recovery process from truancy.
The survey said that junior high schools had an average 1.8 students on infirmary attendance and that elementary and high schools had an average of 1.5 such students. An average of 36 students per day used an infirmary at one school during the surveyed period. Over 10 percent of them had psychological reasons for going to the infirmary, such as “to seek advice for their problems,” or “to talk to the infirmary teacher and friends.”
Physicians found that of those who went to infirmaries last year, 289 junior high school students were experiencing bullying, 131 high school students were suffering from eating disorders and 20 elementary school pupils were victims of child abuse.