Education | Mar 26

The Hidden Reasons Behind School Absences

TOKYO, Mar 26 (News On Japan) - Amid a record high number of elementary and junior high school students not attending school, a survey has revealed a significant gap between the students' self-reported reasons and teachers' perceptions.

While about 70% of the students cited physical and mental health issues, less than 20% of teachers recognized these factors. The number of non-attending students reached approximately 299,000 in the 2022 academic year, the highest ever recorded, prompting the National Institute for Educational Policy Research, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, to investigate the causes. The survey included 19,005 students from elementary to first-year high school and their parents and teachers across four municipalities, including Yamanashi Prefecture and Suita City in Osaka Prefecture, with a focus on those with a history of non-attendance.

The survey asked students with non-attendance experience about the situations that made it difficult for them to go to school, allowing for multiple responses. Out of 239 students, 77% cited "anxiety/depression," 70% reported "drowsiness, inability to wake up in the morning, or sleeplessness at night," and 69% mentioned "poor physical health" as contributing factors. In contrast, only 10-20% of the 1,424 homeroom teachers recognized these issues. Furthermore, while 26% of students reported being victims of bullying, only 4% of teachers acknowledged it.

Manabu Wakuda, director of the National Institute for Educational Policy Research, emphasized the need for measures that consider the difficulties teachers face in recognizing the conditions of their students amidst their busy schedules. He suggested that strategies such as using personal digital devices to monitor changes in students' mental and physical health are becoming increasingly necessary.

Source: NHK


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