Overworked teachers call for change as extracurricular supervision takes toll

Tomohiro Osaki:

As this year’s elementary school graduates enter junior high school in April, one of their biggest concerns will be which extracurricular club to join.

Known as bukatsu, the clubs are so central to the Japanese junior high and high school experience that they not only determine students’ friendships but also affect their later development.

But this long-held tradition is now coming under fire, and from an unexpected quarter: The teachers forced to supervise them say the expectations placed on them are inhumane and driving them to exhaustion.

We look at the emerging controversy over extracurricular clubs: