Tokyo: The Japanese government on Sunday has found that at least 5,800 college students either left school or took time off because of the spread of the coronavirus between April and December of last year, reported NHK World.
The ministry of education conducted a survey of four-year universities and colleges, junior colleges and technical colleges across Japan. About 95 percent, or 1,009 schools, responded.
The survey found that 1,367 students left school permanently, while 4,434 took some time off due to the pandemic.
Overall, 28,647 students left school permanently during the eight-month period. This is down about 20 per cent from the same period of the previous year.
65,670 students left school temporarily, which is almost 10 per cent less than the previous year, reported NHK World.
Ministry officials believed that the decline is likely due to support mechanisms introduced during the pandemic.
They said that 99 per cent of schools extended tuition payment deadlines for the second term and 74 per cent either reduced or waived tuition for students facing financial difficulties.
Meanwhile, the government also rolled out a new national scholarship system for students from low-income households last April. Officials say scholarships had been granted to nearly 270,000 students as of December.
But Professor Suetomi Kaori, a child poverty expert at Nihon University, believed that the system is letting down students just above the scholarship threshold. She said many such students work to support their families and may eventually be forced to drop out if the pandemic continues, reported NHK World.