Southwest Japan Education Council Asks Schools to Tell Parents PTA Membership is Voluntary

A notice from the Kitakyushu City Board of Education asking schools to tell tutors that joining the PTA is optional is seen in this photo from Feb. 3, 2022. (Mainichi/Kazuhito Ito)

KITAKYUSHU — Municipal schools in this southwestern Japanese city have been urged to inform parents and guardians that membership in the PTA is actually voluntary and they should check if they intend to join or leave organizations.

In response to PTA-related issues across Japan, the Kitakyushu City Board of Education sent a notice dated December 10, 2021 to all of its 199 municipal elementary, middle, and special schools. This is probably a first step towards improving the activities of EPAs, which tend to appear as mandatory.

In its notice, the City Board of Education recognized the importance of parent-teacher associations and asked schools to make it clear that joining or leaving is a decision for parents and guardians. It also asked schools to confirm parents’ intentions by asking them to submit documents upon arrival or departure, among other methods.

Schools are invited to discuss with their APEs how to potentially implement the requested measures from the new school year starting in April. The school board has also made it clear that schools must, in accordance with the municipal data protection ordinance, not provide the private information of students and guardians to APEs without the consent of the parties concerned.

Although membership in the PTA is optional and not legally required, the majority of schools take it for granted that all tutors join. In 2014, a guardian sued the city of Kumamoto for claiming his PTA exit notice was not accepted. In a separate 2021 case, documents relating to an Oita City school principal were referred to prosecutors on suspicion of violating local civil service law by providing a PEA with personal information without informing him. the guardians.

Following the advice of the Municipal Board of Education, the Municipal Council of APEs of Kitakyushu also sent directives in the same direction to 198 APEs. He said confirming guardians’ intentions through documentation was the ideal method and called on APEs to do so to the best of their abilities.

Ryushi Miura, head of the PTA council, estimates that only about 10% of PTAs confirm parents’ intentions to join in writing. “Although confirmations may reduce the number of members, I would like to see it as a good opportunity to select the necessary activities and improve the APEs by giving them a new image,” he said.

(Japanese original by Kazuhito Ito, Kyushu News Department)

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