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August 30, 2002

If You Can't Take the Heat...

...stay out of the classroom. Many teachers complain about the stiflingly hot classroom conditions that can make teaching a nightmare. The education ministry now has a ten-year plan to introduce air-conditioning in 300,000 classrooms at the 37,000 elementary, junior and senior high schools around the country. The plan calls for spending 10 billion yen in the first year. Up to now only schools which had to keep their windows closed because of noise or pollution concerns were entitled to subsidies. This covered only 5% of regular classrooms. A survey by the All Japan Teachers and Staff Union showed that temperatures exceeded 30 degrees in more than 70% of classrooms in Tokyo's public schools in mid-July 2000. Some local governments, such as Tokyo's Chiyoda and Chuo Wards, have taken the initiative and paid for air-conditioning in their schools.

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