News On Japan

Teachers Submit 700,000 Signatures to Combat Overwork

TOKYO, Mar 14 (News On Japan) - The Japan Teachers Union (Nikkyoso) submitted a petition with approximately 700,000 signatures to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) on Wednesday, demanding concrete measures to eliminate the long working hours of teachers.

The issue of teachers' working conditions has been under discussion, with MEXT's expert panel considering changes such as a 4% increase in base salary in exchange for not paying overtime, as well as revising workplace environments. Despite regulations stating that teachers cannot be ordered to work overtime, many are compelled to engage in activities like club advising and test grading beyond their regular hours. This is often interpreted as voluntary and not accounted for as labor, leading to unchecked working hours.

The union emphasizes that even time for lesson preparation is not guaranteed and urges that the voices from the field be reflected in the discussions. They argue that amending the Special Measures Law concerning teachers' salaries is essential for proper working hour management.

Currently, discussions in the expert panel primarily focus on maintaining the Special Measures Law, with plans to present a direction for salary structures by spring.

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