Experts present proposals on outsourcing school sports activities

A panel of experts convened by the government's Sports Agency has presented proposals on transferring responsibility for some extracurricular activities in which Japan's junior high school students take part away from teachers.

The panel handed its proposals to agency Commissioner Murofushi Koji on Monday. They were tasked with suggesting ways in which members of local communities could take charge of such activities on weekends and holidays.

The plan is mainly designed to lessen the workload for teachers who oversee extracurricular activities. The transfer will be made in phases over three years beginning next fiscal year.

The experts say various parties can take charge of the activities, offering examples such as community sports teams, private companies and parents' associations.

The experts call on the government to help people obtain coaching licenses or receive training, and advise schools to consider making use of people from companies and universities.

One issue arising is fees to be paid for outsourcing. The panel calls for local authorities to provide financial assistance to students from struggling families. The central government is also urged to provide support.

The agency, which is part of the education ministry, is to lay out a plan to provide the necessary financing and make revisions to guidelines on extracurricular activities.