Another possible casualty of Japan’s declining birthrate is the job security of elementary and high school teachers. An advisory panel to the Ministry of Finance is proposing to cut down the number of teachers by fiscal year 2014 in order to reduce the budget for compulsory education.
According to the Fiscal System Council members, it is inevitable that the government will be reducing the number of teachers due to the decreasing number of schoolchildren caused by the greying of the population and the falling birthrate. The ministry estimates that the government will be able to save 37 billion yen (approx. US$376.6 million) if they will let go of around 2,000 teachers and if the salaries of the remaining ones are lowered to that of the level of local government employees. And even with fewer teachers, this will still not affect the student-teacher ratio according to the ministry. Unsurprisingly, the proposal was not met with any resistance. One member said that you cannot improve education by increasing the number of teachers.
Another proposal from the panel is to remove the 1 trillion yen ($10.2 billion) special addition to tax grants, given to local governments to help boost the regional economies that suffered because of the global financial crisis of 2008. However, this will probably be met with strong opposition from the local governments in the drafting of the 2014 fiscal budget later this year. The tax grants actually make up 20% of the general-account budget of the government. The fiscal council will also try to come up with ways to narrow the gap between prefectural governments from the tax income of companies.
[ via Jiji Press ]