Japan Data

Record Number of School Teachers in Japan Took Mental Health Leave in 2019


A Japanese government survey found the number of teachers taking leave for mental health reasons rose for the third consecutive year.

A survey conducted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, revealed that a record number of 5,478 teachers took leave in 2019 for mental health reasons, including depression.

This was an increase of 266 people from 5,212 in 2018 and by 0.02 points to 0.59% of total teaching staff currently employed. This rise in teachers taking leave is thought to be due to the increased peripheral work expected of them outside classrooms and the extra work needed to provide support for parents, both issues that have come into the spotlight in recent years.

The ministry conducts this survey annually, assessing leaves of absence and disciplinary action for teachers at public elementary, junior high, high, and special-needs schools hired through a total of 67 education boards in 47 prefectures and 20 designated cities. Among teaching staff who took sick leave, there were 2,647 elementary school teachers, 1,387 junior high school teachers, 768 high school teachers, and 649 special-needs school teachers. By gender, 2,382 men and 3,096 women took leave, while by age range, 832 teachers were in their twenties, 1,477 in their thirties, 1,380 in their forties, and 1,789 in their fifties.

By position, there were 23 school principals, 96 vice-principals, 99 senior teachers, 5,056 teachers, 129 school nurses, and a further 75 members of staff, making general licensed teachers overwhelmingly the highest taking leave.

The figures for disciplinary action were announced at the same time, revealing that 4,677 teaching staff members had been disciplined, a drop of 1,301 from the previous year. The number disciplined due to use of corporal punishment fell by 28 to 550. Although the number of teaching staff disciplined for indecent conduct fell from an all-time high in 2018 by 9 to 273 in 2019, this was still the second highest figure on record.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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