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Since the five-day school week was introduced in April, students have become busier in class, 87 percent of teachers said in a recent poll, and 49 percent of the teachers said they spend more time at their school due to unfinished work.

The survey of some 16,200 teachers conducted by the All Japan Teachers and Staff Union (Zenkyo) found that teachers and students alike have become more busy — and worn out — under the new system due to overloaded schedules.

Under the old system, school weeks included classes until noon on two Saturdays each month.

Switching to a five-day week was supposed to ease the pressure of school life, but 55 percent of the teachers said their schedules have become “very busy.”

The teachers were allowed multiple answers in providing feedback on the new system; 72 percent described students’ school life now as hectic, and 50 percent said children have become less focused during class.

There was little positive reaction, with only 9 percent saying opportunities for students and parents to interact have increased, and just 5 percent saying children are using their days off to become immersed in nature or get involved in community activities.

Regarding their own work, 39 percent of the teachers said they have become so busy they have no time to linger in the faculty office and they lack the necessary time to prepare for classes.

Just 15 percent said they are able to rest on weekends, and only 1 percent think the new system has made education less pressured.

The survey covered teachers from Tokyo, Hokkaido and 17 other prefectures, mostly belonging to the union, between July and September.

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