The number of primary and middle school students who refuse to attend class has exceeded 100,000 for 14 consecutive years, prompting the education ministry to begin a survey of 20-year-olds who refused to go to middle school five years ago.
The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry will conduct a follow-up survey this fiscal year for the first time in 13 years, sending questionnaires to about 28,000 young people to ask about such things as the reasons for their refusal, and their family environments and economic situations at the time.
More than 100,000 primary and middle school students did not attend class for 30 days or more in the 1997 school year, excluding those absent for illness or financial reasons.
After peaking at 138,722 in 2001, the number declined but still hovered between 110,000 and 120,000. The truancy rate among primary and middle school students has been consistently about 1.1 percent.
Though the ministry took such measures as dispatching counselors to schools, the number was 119,891 in 2010, a drop of 2.1 percent from the previous school year.
The survey will speak to young people who refused to go to class in the third grade of middle school five years ago. It will ask nearly 40 questions, with multiple choice or written answers, including the triggers for their refusal, their reasons for staying away from school, what kind of people or facilities are needed to counsel students and their current occupations.
The ministry also plans to interview about 500 respondents if they agree to cooperate. Psychology counselors and others will meet them this autumn to ask their thoughts, mainly regarding issues covered on the questionnaire.