December 27, 2009

JAPAN: More teachers on sick leave from psychological problems

. TOKYO, Japan / The Japan Times / Kyodo News / December 27, 2009 A record-high 5,400 public school teachers took sick leave due to psychological trouble in the 2008 academic year, up 405 from the previous year, and the 16th straight yearly increase, an education ministry survey showed Friday. The figure is eight times higher than in the 1979 academic year, when the ministry started collecting the data. The increase indicates many teachers are suffering from stress due to the demands placed on them by parents and communities, as well as the difficulties they face adjusting to changes in educational programs, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry said, noting the need to improve support for teachers by, for example, enhancing the counseling system. Teachers in their 50s accounted for 37 percent of those on leave, while those in their 40s made up 36 percent. Of the total, 44 percent were elementary school teachers, 30 percent junior high school teachers and 16 percent high school teachers, according to the survey. In the reporting year, a record 8,578 teachers took sick leave, of whom a record 63 percent suffered psychological problems. [rc] (C) The Japan Times