Japan uses robots to reduce absenteeism from school | outside

When Japanese students don’t go to school, a robot can soon take their place at school. This initiative is an effort to combat the increasing school truancy.

The Japanese city of Kumamoto plans to use robots to allow students to virtually participate in classes in an effort to curb high school absenteeism. Kids will be able to control the robots from home so they don’t have to miss lessons and other class events.

The robots are one meter tall and can operate completely autonomously. This allows students to move the robots around the school grounds and engage them in activities. “Communication through these robots is not entirely realistic, but it can at least give a sense of reality to children who are not yet confident and shy to interact with others,” said official Maki Yoshizato.

“We hope that this initiative will alleviate their psychological concerns,” Yoshizato added. This isn’t the first time the city has offered an alternative way to go to school. The city has already launched virtual classrooms in an effort to tackle absenteeism. And in November, the city wants to start its new robot project. “It is very important to give students who cannot or do not want to go to school more opportunities to study,” says Kazumvi Onishi, the city’s mayor.


Like other countries, Japan has seen an increase in truancy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic for a variety of reasons, from bullying to interaction problems. Across the country, the number of children missing primary and secondary schools has reached a record high, according to the Japanese Ministry of Education.

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Denton Watson

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