The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) decided on Aug. 24 to include in its FY2018 budget requests allocations to increase the total number of teachers in public elementary and junior high schools by 3,800. Most of the new teachers will be “specialist teachers” who instruct such subjects as English and music and do not serve as homeroom teachers.
For junior high schools, the number of staff members dealing with bullying, truancy, and other issues will be increased to reduce the burden on teachers, who work extremely long hours.
MEXT will request an increase of 2,200 “specialist teachers” for elementary schools. When the government’s new curriculum guidelines come into force in FY2020, English will officially become a subject taught in elementary school and one class will be added per week from grade three to grade six. The transition to the increased number of classes in English and other subjects will start in FY2018, adding to the teachers’ workload. MEXT plans to ensure that the transition goes smoothly by increasing the number of teachers. (Slightly abridged)