• Kyodo News

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As many as 83,743 high school seniors, or 7.2 percent of the total nationwide, have not taken all the required subjects in the national curriculum, according to statistics released Wednesday by the education ministry.

The ministry also reported that 540 high schools — 314 public and 226 private, or some 10 percent of 5,408 high schools — have not taught all the subjects required. A total of 4,554 seniors are short of required classes by 140 hours or more, 17,837 are between 70 and 140 hours short, and 61,352 are less than 70 hours short, it said.

Many schools reportedly fail to teach some compulsory subjects in order to focus on those tested on college entrance exams. Those that have been found out of compliance with the curriculum are planning makeup classes.

An initial plan considered for those students called for 70 50-minute classroom sessions — equivalent to two credits — for each subject. A new formula worked out Wednesday — pending approval by the ruling bloc — requires about 50 sessions for students who lack two credits for graduation, while those who lack more than two credits will need to take 70 sessions plus submission of reports or other extraordinary steps.

On Monday, a 58-year-old high school principal was found hanged in an apparent suicide due to this curriculum shortfall in Ibaraki Prefecture.

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