- JTU National Assembly on School Workstyle Reform ～School is now in a critical situation～
JTU National Assembly on School Workstyle Reform ～School is now in a critical situation～
The Japan Teachers’ Union held the National Assembly on 27th July and announced its urgent recommendations to fundamentally reform the workstyle of teachers and education support personnel in Japan, where it is common to work long hours and not take breaks.
JTU President Takimoto appealed in his opening remarks for the need to reduce workload and increase the number of teachers and education support personnel in order to correct long working hours. “In particular, since the ‘Act on Special Measures concerning Salaries and Other Conditions for Education Personnel of Public Compulsory Education Schools, etc. (1971 No. 77)’ states the “special nature of teachers’ work”, but actually it allows a situation where long working hours are the norm and there is no time for breaks, it needs to be abolished or fundamentally reviewed”, he stressed.
At the assembly, teachers’ voices were also raised:
An elementary school teacher in Osaka said she was glad to be a teacher because she is able to witness the growth of children, but on the other hand, it is true that there are teachers who take sick leave or leave the teaching profession due to burnout. “It is very sad because they also had same dreams when they entered the teaching profession. I’d like school to be a place where both children and teachers can shine. If teachers are not well, the children will not feel safe”, she emphasised.
Next, an elementary school teacher in Shiga Prefecture said that he has three things he would like to do, one, to give good lessons for students, two, to study hard so that his students can become people who think about peace, and three, to spend more time with his own children. “In order to achieve these goals, it is important to reduce workload rather than increase it. Workstyle reform cannot be done by waiting. Let us do it ourselves!”, he concluded.
At the end of the assembly, JTU seven urgent recommendations were announced.
- Secure time for teachers to prepare for teaching in order to give understandable lessons and create pleasant school for all children,
- Realise small class size at all school types,
- Increase number of teachers and education support personnel including school counsellors in order to respond to all children from a diverse range of backgrounds,
- Review and reduce contents of the national curriculum guidelines to secure quality school life for all children,
- Reduce workload including sufficient staffing in order to support young teachers and education support personnel,
- Under the responsibilities of Ministry of Education, divide and prioritise the work that teachers have been doing at school so that teachers can focus on teaching as primary work, and
- Abolish or fundamentally review the Special Measures to protect teachers’ lives and health.