Japan plans to transfer operation of public activities from undergraduate clubs to local communities

A building housing the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Japan Sports Agency is visible in the Chiyoda district of Tokyo. (Mainichi/Motohiro Negishi)

TOKYO — A group of experts from the Japan Sports Agency has submitted a proposal on measures to transfer the operating bodies of extracurricular activities from clubs in schools to private clubs and other organizations in local communities.

The proposal was submitted to Japan Sports Agency Commissioner Koji Murofushi on June 6. Based on the recommendation, the agency will encourage local governments and other bodies to essentially transfer club activities that are currently conducted during the holidays in public high schools to local communities. a period of three years from the start of the 2023 academic year.

Under the proposed initiative, entities such as private clubs and junior sports clubs are expected to take over the operation of schools’ extracurricular activities. As circumstances vary from region to region, stakeholder councils will be set up in each area to consider the matter, instead of adopting unified procedures.

By allowing coaches from private sector clubs and other groups to instruct students in after-school clubs, the initiative aims to rectify the long working hours of teachers, who are often tasked with supervising club activities by more of their course instructions.

The move also aims to provide opportunities for children to participate in sports amid a declining birth rate in Japan, which is making it increasingly difficult for school clubs to find enough members to run them on their own. In order to make the new initiative a reality, whether the new operating bodies of the club’s activities will be able to ensure sufficient instructors and financial sources will be a key question.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology finalized in September 2020 a policy to transfer in stages the operating bodies of club activities carried out during school vacations to schools. private clubs and others in communities. The Japan Sports Agency, an external office of the Ministry of Education, discussed the issue at an expert panel set up in October 2021. The Cultural Affairs Agency is also considering transferring the bodies of management of cultural club activities to private entities.

(Japanese original by Yuta Kobayashi, Sports Information Department, and Yongho Lee, Tokyo City Information Department)

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