National

90 percent of municipalities in Japan to shorten school summer breaks

Jiji

More than 90 percent of municipalities in the nation intend to shorten summer breaks at public schools following prolonged school closures due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, an education ministry survey has found.

Among elementary and junior high schools, those planning on shortening their summer vacations to 16 days, from around a month, made up the largest group, according to the survey released Friday. For high schools, the most common length of vacation was 23 days.

The survey asked 1,811 municipalities that operate public elementary, junior high or high schools about their summer break plans as of June 23.

Schools in 1,794 municipalities had suspended lessons since April 1, with those closing for 31 to 40 days accounting for the largest proportion, followed by schools that had closed for 21 to 30 days.

Of the municipalities that temporarily closed schools during the virus crisis, 95 percent said they would shorten summer break for their schools. The shortest summer vacation planned was nine days for elementary schools and junior high schools and four days for high schools.

As many as 97 percent of municipalities that shut schools for some time said they would review how and when to conduct school events. Meanwhile, schools planning to hold classes on Saturdays made up only 19 percent of the total. Those with plans to compile curriculums that consider the next academic year from April and beyond made up a mere 14 percent.

All municipalities used paper-based teaching materials for study done from home amid the school closures, but only 26 percent used videos created by municipal education boards. Municipalities that had schools conduct online classes with two-way communication systems accounted for 15 percent.

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