A Japan Science and Technology Agency survey has revealed that more than 70 per cent of public middle schools across nation do not have science-related clubs, raising concerns that such clubs may be close to extinction.
According to the survey, 73 per cent of the 417 public middle schools that responded said they do not have science-related clubs, such as astronomy and biology clubs, up seven points from a similar survey four years ago.
The independent administrative institution says the situation is mainly attributed to a lack of teachers capable of teaching science-related subjects.
The organisation carried out the questionnaire survey in March this year, randomly picking 500 public middle schools having at least 30 students around the country, with teachers and students responding. Of them 417 schools provided valid answers.
As the dominant reason for the lack of science clubs, 63 per cent of the schools cited a "lack of teachers who can be in charge of such clubs."
Only 1 per cent of students indicated they belonged to science-related clubs. Cited as the main reason for the low number, 59 per cent of students said they do not have science-related clubs at their schools.
"The environment is insufficient for students to feel that science is closely related to their lives," said Reiko Watanabe, deputy manager of the JST's Center for Promotion of Science Education.
"It's vital to swiftly create an environment to prevent their emerging interest in science from being lost."