Teachers’ sick leave rate highest in Okinawa schools

A research by the Okinawa Teachers’ Union has revealed that the rate of sick leave among teachers in the prefecture in fiscal 2015 was 2.85% in Okinawa, the highest in Japan.

The rate exceeded the national average of 0.86% by a wide margin. 1.19% of teachers in Okinawa suffered from mental problems, which was more than twice the national average of 0.54% and also the highest in the nation. Okinawa Teachers’ Union calculated the data based on a survey by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Okinawa Teachers’ Union officials suspect that the reason is the increase in the duties piled on teachers to deal with academic development that the Okinawa Education Bureau is pressing. The head of the union says, “This indicates it’s necessary to increase the number of teachers and decrease their duties.”

According to a union spokesman, the rate of teacher’s sick leave in Okinawa has been constantly the highest in the nation since 2006, and the rate of teachers who suffer mental problems or are on sick leave has been increasing. The spokesman pointed out, “If teachers change frequently because of their sick leave, the educational direction would also change, and that may result in poor education for children.”

Officials at the Okinawa Education Bureau say, “We are regret the results. We would like to strive to prevent teachers from having to take sick leave by preparing a consultation system to support them.”