government decided October on practical elimination of the norms on personnel arrangement
and qualification of after-school nursing staff for schoolboys-and-girls. The
government’s organ in charge of the issue is the Experts’ Workshop of the
Council of Intellectuals on Reforms of Decentralization of Power which belongs
to the Cabinet Office. The criteria have been implemented just since the Fiscal
2015. Parents and concerned parties raise opinions against the decision.
DECISION TO CHILDREN AND WORKING PARENTS
after-school nursing program is designed to take care of children after school
as their parents work and they are absent at home in the afternoon time. Usually
vacant classrooms of schools and municipality-operating children’s halls are
open. The objective is to guarantee school children to enjoy sound education activities,
who play and learn with care-taker teachers.
quality education should be guaranteed
after-school nursing program was stipulated in 1997 in the Children’s Welfare
Act, but no standards for establishment were provided. In 2007 ‘guidelines for
after-school nursing program’ were drawn up to specify basic rules on
was April 2014 when the concrete norms, called Standards on Facilities and
Operation of After-school Nursing Program (an order of the Ministry of Health,
Labor and Welfare), which represented nationwide criteria that will improve
quality of the curriculum.
norms have two categories: one is norms for reference and the other is, for compliance.
The latter sets personnel arrangement; (1) more than two staff members,
including a care-taker teacher, should be arranged per classroom, (2) a
care-taker teacher should be a certified nursery teacher or social welfare counselor
who has passed the relevant training course provided by prefectures. Other norms
are set up for reference, on facilities, scale of a children’s group, place and
operating time and days.
certified personnel may be arranged
recent decision was made, responding to demands raised by municipalities which
have difficulties to hire experts for the program. The sole norm to comply with
is staff arrangement, which will be changed from an obligation to discretion of
a municipality. That means only one person can be arranged in a classroom, or
no certified personnel can be employed. It is natural that parents opposed the
decision, fearing of degradation of quality of the program.
to a report from the ministry, called ‘Facts on After-school Nursing Program in
2017’, the total number of after-school nursing teachers counts 131,336, out of
which regular employees are 35,632, occupying 27.1%. Irregular employees count
44,346, occupying 33.8%, with part-time or temporary staff, counting 39,607,
30.2%. Approximately, three out of every four workers are irregular staff.
Under the circumstances regularly-employed workers get exhausted due to harder
assignments, while irregular workers face unstable working conditions. Thus, it
is hard to arrange staff.
relaxed space for children
to a report from the National Liaison Office on After-school Nursing Program,
as of May 1, 2018, in total 1,211,522 children (an increase by 40,360 from the
previous year) attend the after-school courses, while 16,957 children wait for
attending (a decrease by 150, compared with the previous figure). The
government announced last September of a target that it will augment by 250,
000 children during a three-year period beginning in the fiscal 2019. But the
actual budget of the state government renders to 1/3 of the expenses.
surrounding children are serious, as various reports say about bullying, abuses
and refusal to go to school. The after-school nursing plan should provide
children with a safe, relaxed space. For this purpose workers are rightly
arranged with right working conditions in which they can continue to work,