Summary of FLT’s actions since the beginning of “School from Home”
During this period of school closure, the Lycee Families Association has been staying in contact with you and the head of the school. We would like to hereby inform you of the measures we have taken and of what we know so far.
School is working on a restarting protocol at the moment, they are following guidelines from the AEFE, the French Ministry of Education, the Japanese Ministry of Education and the document issued on May 4th for reopenings of schools in France.
The restarting date will be decided by the French Embassy, in agreement with the AEFE and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs depending on the situation in Japan.
It is a complicated process and we understand that many parents are waiting for an official notice from the school about it. It won’t be long before there is one. We are also in the process of discussing this matter with the head of school. As soon as an announcement is made by the school do not hesitate to let us know your thoughts as we will be happy to follow up with them.
At the beginning of the lockdown we received a lot of feedback concerning the online schooling. We notified the school and followed up on the solutions they offered. There has been less feedback lately and we would like to mention the tremendous amount of work the teachers have done to adapt to this new situation and offer the best possible help to all children. Thank you!
We are aware of the hardship some parents are facing regarding tuition fees. From the very beginning of this crisis we asked that all extra fees (cafeteria, bus, extracurricular activities) be waived. It is the case now. It is however not enough. We have been working with the school on a solidarity fund for Families experiencing loss of income and help those who will need help to keep their children enrolled at the LFIT.
We therefore made three demands: that the fund be open to all families regardless of nationality, a small number of documents to submit, flexibility in the scheduling of payments. These criteria were taken into account by the Board of LFIT.
In order to support this request we made a 900.000 yen donation to the fund. The scholarship commission for French families has also been reopened and extended to May 29th. (Here for more information https://www.familles-lycee-tokyo.com/en/financial-support-for-families-facing-difficulties-due-to-the-covid-19-crisis/)
There was however some disgruntlement regarding the request to pay the full fees for the third quarter, which was expressed through the creation of a parents group “ parents du LFIT” on Facebook. We are talking with this group but they have no link with our association. Our standpoint is that asking for a general discount of all fees is not sustainable nor reasonable. In our view, this is not contradictory with our previous actions, we have always fought to keep tuition fees from rising and requested LFIT Management to justify any change in fees (link CR)
Our rationale is the following: first, the teaching service is indeed provided, although in more difficult conditions and with sometimes less effectiveness, particularly for Primary school classes. Second, LFIT deploys the same resources as before and therefore incurs the same costs, which must be supported by its usual funding sources. Third, LFIT still carries a high amount of debt and has very little financial flexibility. Waiving part of the tuition fees now, without financial support from AEFE, would undoubtedly lead to an increase of tuition fees for all in a very near future.
The community of teachers and LFIT Management have made genuine efforts to adapt to this unprecedented situation, while facing conditions as difficult as parents do. The results achieved justify that FLT keep trust in them. In these circumstances, we will strive to maintain a critical but constructive relationship, relying on information and mutual consultation.
Some parents have mentioned proposals, such as the possibility to use the financial reserves of the school. These reserve funds, already reduced due to some exemptions resulting from the crisis, are designed to enable the school to overcome a major financing issue (the covid crisis does not decrease the probability of other events, such as an earthquake), and prepare the school expansion project that has requested a significant financial effort from all, over several years. To date, there is no plan to reconsider the “crisis reserve” or cancel the expansion project. Otherwise it would be necessary to rebuild the reserve fund used during the current crisis, therefore pay tomorrow what is spent today. Some parents also mentioned the option of furlough for some employees, to reduce costs and therefore enable a reduction of tuition fees, but this would be difficult considering that the main part of LFIT employees are teachers who work more than full time at the moment.
We are working on all possible options, for example through our involvement in the Board of LFIT, and we are open to hearing your proposals. There are issues, we understand this. The burden for parents is high, especially for those who have children in Primary school, and uncertainty wears on all of us. But we must keep seeking individual and collective solutions that protect the school, its employees and families, particularly by reaching out to elected representatives, which we did last month, or by working with AEFE. Longer term, we must focus on future challenges, we shall work to prepare together with serenity the next school year starting September.
The FLT Team