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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 December 21 - 2017 January 3  > Number of teachers having mental problems hovers above 5,000 mark
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2016 December 21 - 2017 January 3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Number of teachers having mental problems hovers above 5,000 mark

December 23, 2016
An Education Ministry survey shows that the number of teachers who took sick leave due to mental health problems in fiscal 2015 exceeded 5,000 for three straight years.

The ministry on December 22 published the results of a survey of 920,000 teachers in public senior high, junior high, and elementary schools. According to the survey, 5,009 teachers went on sick leave in fiscal 2015 after suffering from depression and other mental illnesses, slightly down from 5,045 in the previous year. These teachers accounted for 62.9% of all teachers on sick leave.

Secretary General of the All-Japan Teachers and Staffs Union (Zenkyo) Obata Masako said that the survey result reveals that the number of teachers who took sick leave because of mental health problems remains high. She stressed that they are forced to work excessively long hours with heavy workloads because the Abe government is implementing an education policy which causes excessive competition within and between schools and tighter control on teaching staff.

Obata noted that among teachers in their 20s who are on sick leave, nearly 80% have mental distress problems. She pointed out that 302 teachers quit their jobs although they only began their teaching careers in April and that of them 73 cited mental distress as a reason.

Obata said that in order to end the mental health crisis, Zenkyo is demanding that the Education Ministry improve teachers’ working conditions and increase the number of teachers.

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