Info FLT: MoM LFI Tokyo Board Meeting held on October 14th, 2021
Full MoM in French
Representatives for FLT:
MM René Carraz & Pierre-Francois Vilquin
Enrolment at the start of the school year
1427 pupils (out of 1475 budgeted), 20 families are still waiting for visas (39 pupils), 21 families have canceled (33 pupils). The impact on the budget is minimal and will be smoothed out during the year. Enrolment is slightly up (there is comparatively an overall decrease of 2% in other AEFE schools in the Asia-Pacific region).
School extension project (School #6)
Asbestos removal work has started, at a lower cost than initially expected. The opening is currently scheduled for September 2022.
The main focus is on making sure that the renovation work on the new building stays within the budgeted cost.
Local work contract for primary school teaching staff
A local contract primary school teacher took legal action against the school for payment of overtime and a bonus. The Japanese labor court rejected some of the claims but some compensation will have to be paid. No appeal will be made. The court pointed out that the school will have to adapt its employment contracts to comply with Japanese law.
Current contracts are based on the common French practice of dividing teachers’ total work time into “school hours” (time spent in front of the pupils) and “ORS” (statutory work obligations for meetings, preparation, grading, etc.) which comes to 27 hours a week for primary school teachers.
These weekly working hours are in contradiction with Japanese law, which stipulates a 40-hour working week and the obligation to punch a time card to verify school attendance.
The annualization of salary for ORS will have to be specified in the employment contracts to fully comply with Japanese law. According to Japanese labor law, it is not possible to modify an employment contract without the agreement of the staff and an addendum has no legal value under Japanese law. All staff on a local contract will have to be offered a new contract, without pay raise. Wages currently represent 65% of the school’s budget. Any increase in wages would significantly increase tuition and put families at risk of being unable to cover the cost.
Questions from parents representatives
Update on the lunch service: Has the new organization resulted in an improvement of the service and higher user satisfaction?
The Headmistress replied that she has received only a single complaint very recently concerning the meals served, which related more to the size of the portions than to quality. Recent feedback from the parents’ restaurant committee shows some improvement. The complaint will be examined at the next committee meeting.
What is the outcome of the switch to central purchasing? What savings have been made? Has there been a correlation between the new suppliers and improved feedback or an increase in the quality of the meals (or the opposite)?
Better follow-up, product quality, and a high level of responsiveness are the positive points of this new operating model. The cost saving is still hard to quantify at the moment; we will have to wait till the end of the quarter to better evaluate. As a reminder, the lunch service had returned to a balanced budget at the end of the 2020-2021 financial year.
Is the atmosphere within the lunch team improving?
Relations within the team remain very complicated.
Has a replacement been found for the staff who resigned?
The staff who resigned this summer was replaced by temporary staff. The previous second chef who had been promoted to head chef on 1 September 2021 has unfortunately also submitted his resignation for 31 October. Since Monday 11 October he has been on sick leave. Therefore, the current manager will take over the duties of chef and Mr. Xavier Jorge will take over the manager’s duties in the current organization chart.
Are the number of teacher absences since the beginning of the school year higher than in previous years?
The situation in the secondary school is exceptional, with three teachers absent due to sick leave. For two of them, teaching duties are fully covered by other teachers. For one, a substitute teacher is covering three days per week, with the remaining being online lessons, at school under the supervision of an educational assistant. The situation is also exceptional for the primary school with a long-term sick leave since the beginning of the year, unplanned early maternity leave, and two delayed arrivals. Two other maternity leaves and one parental leave are expected within the year. For the latter, replacements are already planned.
Is the pool of substitute teachers sufficient, considering the particular situation this year (especially in secondary and exam classes)?
There is no pool of substitutes in the secondary, the school publishes substitute positions when the need arises. For the primary school, the number of substitute teachers is as high as in previous years.
Is there a plan to make up for a large number of hours missed since the beginning of the year?
The number of hours missed has been recorded and compensatory time will be added over the year. In addition, supplementary time will be offered on a voluntary basis, outside school time.
Even in light of the current health situation, some parents are surprised by the lesser importance given to music at LFI Tokyo and by the French education system in general compared to the Japanese education system. Are there any plans to resume the previous agreement with the music school, or with another service at more affordable prices?
The Headmistress points out that the current musical curriculum meets the French Ministry of Education’s programmes and timetables. The previous agreement with an external music school will be re-examined and re-evaluated. The services which used to be provided by an external music school are not the responsibility of the LFI Tokyo, nor are part of the regular extra-curricular activities. The previous agreements will be re-examined and re-evaluated with regard to the commitments of the providers and their responsibilities. For the moment, the process is on hold because of the health protocol (limiting the mixing of pupils).