Japanese teachers put in longer hours than their counterparts in other countries, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

But they actually spend more time on office work than teaching, the OECD said in a report released Sept. 13.

Despite the heavy workload, it said Japanese teachers’ salaries are falling.

The OECD said action is required to maintain the quality of teaching at Japanese schools.

Teachers at elementary schools worked an average of 1,899 hours throughout 2009, second only to the United States among 21 countries with comparable data available.

The actual time spent teaching in class came to only 707 hours a year, or 72 hours below the average for all OECD member countries. This indicates that the additional tasks imposed on Japanese teachers contributed significantly to their total work hours.

Calculating teachers’ salary levels using 2005 as a benchmark, the average paycheck for all OECD members rose by 7 percentage points in 2009, while Japan recorded a drop of 5 percentage points.

An OECD official who oversaw the research said: “Japanese teachers have heavy workloads, but their salaries are low. Steps need to be taken to attract competent people to improve the quality of teaching staff.”