Ministry report calls for work-style reforms in bid to cut teachers’ overtime

JIJI

The education ministry vowed Friday to promote work style reform at schools in order to reduce overtime among teachers.

The long working hours of teachers “have become so serious that the situation cannot be overlooked,” the ministry said in an annual white paper.

Overtime among teachers has become a problem as workloads at schools have expanded, partly due to increasing demands from parents.

The ministry said it will create an internal organization for centralized control of workloads among teachers, and compile guidelines including working hour caps.

According to the fiscal 2017 paper, the proportion of teachers who worked more than 80 hours of overtime a month stood at some 30 percent at public elementary schools and 60 percent at junior high schools in fiscal 2016. Overtime exceeding the level is said to increase markedly the risk of death from overwork.

The report noted successful work style reform measures taken by local government boards of education, and the ministry’s resolve to promote such measures across the country.

The ministry said it will work out further details of proposed free education at higher education and preschool levels, a pillar of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy of realizing a “revolution” in human resources development.

The ministry also pledged to take preventive measures after being blamed for illegal brokering to help officials find comfortable roles after retirement in a practice called amakudari.