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School Absenteeism Rising in Japan: 1 in 25 Junior High Students Not Attending
[2018.07.18]

The number of children absent from school for more than 30 days per year has increased for the fourth year running in Japan.

The number of Japanese children absent from school for more than 30 days at nationwide public and private elementary and junior high schools has risen for the fourth year in a row. The results of a survey on problematic behavior and non-attendance of school children released by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in February 2018 shows a 6.1% increase from the previous year to 133,683 students. Of that number, non-attendance figures for elementary school children rose 10.4% to 30,448 and those for junior high school students climbed 4.9% to 103,235. This equates to 1% of all elementary school students and 4.1% of all junior high school students being absent from school.

Most non-attendees at elementary school were in the sixth grade, at 9,794, and most of those at junior high were also in their final year, at 39,580. This indicates the tendency for non-attendance to rise as children move up through the grades.

Family circumstances was the most common cause of non-attendance given for elementary school children, accounting for 53.3%. According to the survey, bullying was the cause of just 0.7% of absenteeism while other personal issues with friends, not including bullying, was 18.8%. For junior high students, there was a noticeable drop in the proportion citing family circumstances to 28.9%. With bullying accounting for 0.5% and other personal issues with friends 27.2%, however, it appears personal relationships at school become a particular burden at this age.

Of the non-attending students, 13,736 at elementary school and 63,706 at junior high were absent for more than 90 days. Overall, more than half of all non-attending students are missing school in the very long term.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: © Pixta.)

  • [2018.07.18]
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