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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 21 - 27  > Gov't aims to abolish national guidelines for after-school care program
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2018 November 21 - 27 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gov't aims to abolish national guidelines for after-school care program

November 21, 2018
November 21, 2018

The Abe government at a Cabinet Office expert panel on November 19 decided to virtually abolish national guidelines for the after-school student care program.

The program obliges all municipalities throughout Japan to meet the uniform standards set for taking care of children aged between 6 and12 after school on working parents' behalf. Currently, one class must have at least two qualified staff; they must have a license as a children's nurse or social welfare worker; and they must be persons who have completed the training provided by each prefecture.

The central government, however, will change the existing binding guidelines to non-binding ones so that municipalities can be free to set standards on their own, including the minimum number of staff members.

After the change, it will be possible in effect for one unqualified staff to look after a large number of after-school pupils, causing concern among parents, teachers, and children's nurses.

Takahashi Makoto of a nationwide liaison council for after-school clubs said, "At present, all municipalities are under obligation to meet the national standards. The removal of these standards will leave any decision on after-school childcare up to the discretion of municipalities and this could bring about a situation in which only one non-professional adult cares for many children.

Takahashi added, "In order to ensure the safety and provision of safe places for children, it is essential to assign professional instructors to each class. Our council will strongly request that the central government maintain the current set standards."

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