Applicants for Japanese elementary teachers tie 2018 low record

The decrease in the application for Japanese elementary teacher jobs has tied a previous low record.

Scarcity of Japanese elementary teachers

TOKYO – The education system in Japan is now experiencing a major setback after the number of applications for Japanese elementary teachers suddenly dropped into a record low. The education ministry is now worried about having a scarcity issue in supplying elementary teachers all across Japan.

According to the data from the education ministry, the number of applicants during the recruitment examination for Japanese elementary school teachers for the academic year 2019 fell significantly compared to the previous school year.

The last time the number was this low was way back in 1991. Officials say that the number must meet the minimum ratio of three applicants per job offer to maintain a quality pool of human resources.

Applicants shy away from education-related jobs

The low number of applicants for Japanese elementary teacher positions can cause a significant effect on the education system due to the high number of outgoing teachers for this year. 

A high number of teachers hired in the 1980s is expected to retire this year, leaving a huge hole in the human resource aspect for public elementary teachers in Japan.

The problem now is the job seekers are shying away from the teaching profession due to heavy school workloads.

The number of teacher applicants was highest during 2000 when there was a scarcity of job opportunities it continued to have a stable progression till 2019, but the demand increased much faster than the supply, and it hasn’t been able to keep up.

The education ministry was concerned with the high disparity in job applications from two areas in Japan. The number was lowest at Niigata Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, while it is in an impressively high at Hyogo prefecture, west of Japan.

After analyzing, ministry officials found out that applicant interest is higher in areas where teachers were hired for medium to long-term contracts, while lowest in areas without proper human resource management.

Japanese lawmakers are also making a revision on an existing law that will improve the salary grade of Japanese elementary teachers and trim down on their working hours to lessen teachers’ workload. The bill is expected to take effect as early as the academic year of 2021.