EARLY CHILDCARE EDUCATION IS HAVING DIFFICULTY ATTRACTING STAFF IN JAPAN - THE REASONS FOR THIS SOUND SIMILAR TO THE SITUATION FOR ECE TEACHERS IN NEW ZEALAND.
READ THE DISCUSSION IN JAPAN ABOUT FUNDING AND THE AVERAGE LENGTH OF TIME A TEACHER STAYS TEACHING
Tokyo, May 2012 - Low salaries are one reason behind the difficulty in securing sufficient numbers of day care workers. According to the government's basic survey on wage structure in 2011, the average monthly salary for a private day care worker was only 220,000 yen (about $NZ3,200).
"The system is dependent on workers' motivation. The wage isn't commensurate with their physical or mental burdens," said Teikyo University Prof. Yuichi Murayama, an expert on early childhood care and education.
"The job requires long hours, and their annual income does not increase much even if they continue to work for five or 10 years. Under such circumstances, it's difficult for them to work for many years," Murayama said.
Day care centres are managed with subsidies from the central and local governments, and childcare fees from parents.
"Labour costs account for about 80 percent of all management costs," Murayama said. "It's difficult to raise childcare fees, so it's hard to improve day care workers' salaries unless government subsidies are raised."
To make ends meet, an increasing number of day care centres are hiring workers as non-regular employees.
According to a survey conducted by the Japan National Council of Social Welfare in 2006 on 11,605 institutions across the nation, 39.7 percent of day care workers at public childcare centres were non-regular employees. In private childcare centres, the percentage was 26.9 percent.
Childcare centres operate for longer hours than before and an increasing number offer services on holidays and at night.
This has made the job situation for day care workers even more severe. Their average tenure is 8.4 years, according to a 2011 survey by the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry.
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