Letter from René Carraz, FLT’s president from Sept. 2018 to Sept. 2022
I am writing to you as my term as president of the association comes to an end. I would like to ask you a few minutes of your time to share some of the actions taken during these last four years.
One of the association’s president tasks is to coordinate communications and exchanges of information between the various partners of the Lycée’s educational life: parents, students, teachers and administration. To do this, I participated in Board meetings, the LFIT School Council, the Primary School Council; the Health, Real Estate and Canteen Committees; and in formal and informal meetings with the administration, parents, teachers, the ambassador and the councilors for French Nationals abroad. It’s a long list.
All of these actions were aimed at staying true to the commitments of our electoral charter: REPRESENT – INFORM – ACT. To represent and defend the interests of families and their children; to consult and inform families on a regular basis about decisions and projects underway at the school; and to carry out actions that improve the lives of families.
One of the main objectives of my mandate has been to allow all families who wish to enroll their children at LFI Tokyo, regardless of their income. This commitment has included working hard to keep tuition affordable, fighting constructively to ensure that any increases proposed by the administration were properly justified and limited.
In particular, we fought in 2019 to have the proposed increase in the initial registration fee (IRF) reduced to 250,000 yen instead of the proposed 400,000 yen, a requested increase of 100% in IRF. However, I deplore the continuous increases in recent years: tuition has increased by about 13% in less than 10 years, about 30% over 20 years, well above inflation in Japan. We must remain vigilant.
The information and mediation functions of the association were particularly driven by the Covid-19 crisis, which has had such an impact on our lives. On the positive side, despite the health crisis that caused the closure of many schools in the AEFE network, LFI Tokyo was one of the schools in the network that welcomed students onsite for the longest period of time in Asia. This is the result of the long-term effort to put in place collective mechanisms to minimize the impact of Covid on the life of the Lycée, even if new constraints had to be introduced. In this process, the association played its role in bringing the voices of parents and students to the table, organizing meetings, conducting surveys, and speaking constantly with all members of the educational community. The result was of course not perfect, but we tried to do our best in this difficult context.
In order to help the families in difficulty due to the covid-19 crisis, we also made a donation in 2021 of 900,000 yen to the solidarity fund. This amount represents the entire proceeds from the 2019 year-end raffle, plus an additional 340,000 yen from our own funds. The solidarity fund is intended to help families with financial difficulties regardless of nationality.
Another major project was the ongoing real estate project. The story ended well, and Mr. Brochet, President of the AEFE (Agency for French Education Abroad), received the keys to the annex building on June 3, 2022. And a number of our students started school there in September. This is the fruit of years of work, preparation and financing operations. The road was not always a smooth one, and you can look back at our questions in the minutes of the Board meetings where we asked to set up a real estate commission to closely monitor the progress of the project. The association will, I hope, keep the memory of these processes for real estate projects to come.
A fond memory for me was the organization of the Trèfle tournament (a rugby tournament for French schools abroad). We contributed modestly (a donation of 270,000 yen). This French school rugby world cup took place in Tokyo, from October 8 to 15, 2019, alongside the official Rugby World Cup. The fruit of a year’s work from our students and teachers. We also had the visit of former internationals, Duane Vermeulen, Thierry Dusautoir, Serge Betsen and the late Christophe Dominici. A giant Haka was organized on the sports field and a beautiful tournament took place, where we finished 3rd, behind South Africa in particular, despite a typhoon that disrupted some of the plans.
I am also very honored to have humbly participated as president in obtaining the official status of association under Japanese law for OLES Japan (Local Organization for Mutual Aid and Solidarity) in August 2019, with the FLT (Familles du Lycée de Tokyo) parents association being one of its founding members. OLES’ mission is to help all French people in Japan who encounter financial difficulties.
It has been an exciting and demanding 4 years of work and it is impossible to mention here all the actions we have carried out. I invite you to visit our website if you wish for more details: cap jeux, inclusive school, Lycée café, Eco team, year-end raffle, etc. All this would not be possible without you, the members of the association, the volunteers, the voters. The elections of parent representatives to the LFIT School Council and Primary School Council will take place from October 5 to 7. The higher the participation rate, the more our voice will be heard.
I wish good luck to the new President of the association. Looking forward to what’s to come and see you soon.