Survey reveals teacher shortage in Japan


An initial survey by the Japanese Ministry of Education on the shortage of teachers revealed that there was a deficit of 0.31% with 5.8% of schools affected.

In the 2021 school year, there is a shortage of 2,558 teachers in Japan’s public elementary, middle and high schools. This is the finding of the first teacher shortage survey conducted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

The investigation involved 68 school boards for prefectures or government-designated cities checking teacher shortages in 32,903 schools as of the first day of school in April 2021. A total of 1,897 schools, or 5, 8%, do not have enough teachers. The shortage of 2,558 teachers represents 0.31% of the required standard of 836,079 teachers.

By type of school, the number of teachers needed was 0.32% lower in elementary schools, 0.40% lower in junior high schools, 0.14% lower in secondary schools, and 0. .32% in special needs schools. The survey results also show that 142 special needs schools surveyed (or 13.1%) face teacher shortages, along with 649 junior high schools (7.0%), 937 elementary schools (4.9%) and 169 secondary schools (4.8%).

Teacher shortages (as of April 2021)

Created by based on data from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

One of the underlying factors of the teacher shortage is the massive retirement of teachers from the baby boom generation. At the same time, fewer members of the younger generation are interested in pursuing a career in teaching, given the long working hours. In recent years, the busy schedules of school teachers have come under the spotlight, especially in elementary and secondary schools. In addition, municipalities have reduced their recruitment of teachers in anticipation of the drop in the number of students due to the declining number of births in Japan. And this in turn has led to more and more non-regular teachers working under unstable employment conditions.

The results released by MEXT for the public primary school teacher selection exam held in the 2020 school year show that there were only 2.6 applicants per vacancy, which is the rate lowest competition ever, down from a peak of 12.5 in 2000. was 4.4 in middle schools, 6.6 in high schools, and 3.1 in special schools, all declines between 30% and 60% compared to the peak years of the 2000s.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)


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