The average rate of students dropping out of private high schools due to their parents being made redundant or other economic problems reached a record-high 1.56 per school in the academic year that ended in March, a teachers’ group said.

The group’s findings, part of an annual survey it has conducted since the 1998 school year, also found that cases of broken families and fathers disappearing after losing their jobs due to corporate bankruptcies or workforce cuts are on the rise.

The nationwide umbrella group of private school teachers’ unions, headed by Masahiro Tani, is calling on the central and local governments to extend subsidies to cover part of affected students’ tuition fees.

The survey was conducted in late March on teachers at 228 schools, with about 206,000 students, in 25 prefectures.

The number of dropouts due to economic reasons increased by eight to 355 in the reporting year, of which 47 were forced out due to defaulting on tuition payments among other reasons.

Students for which tuition was unpaid as of March 31 totaled 1,871, and 334 failed to participate in school trips due to economic problems, it said.

Reports on specific cases include an Ishikawa Prefecture student who dropped out of school due to the failure of a family business and a case in Iwate Prefecture in which both parents lost their jobs, forcing the family to depend on the child’s income from newspaper deliveries.

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