The government is expanding public day care services while building a comprehensive nanny care system as part of its effort to invest in early education and raise women’s labor participation and birth rates, Minster without Portfolio Lin Wai-I said at an interministerial meeting today.
Toward that end, the government is aiming to raise the preschool enrollment rate for children 2-5 years old to 60 percent by 2020, with 40 percent of those enrollments in public preschools. A safer and more complete nanny care system is also being established to meet the needs of all families and children, Lin said. The meeting included officials from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Labor and National Development Council.
Aside from setting up public and nonprofit day care centers, the government is also encouraging companies to provide child care facilities, Minister Lin said. He instructed the labor ministry to revamp employee assistance programs to be more forward-looking, in line with international trends, and friendlier to families, women, children, and middle-aged and older workers. The central government will also help companies play their parts in supporting child care and female employees.
President Tsai Ing-wen made child care and women’s labor participation an important part of her election campaign, proposing the construction of 200,000 social housing units over eight years, Lin said. These new community type units, along with privately owned rental units managed by the government, can also be repurposed into a space for nonprofit preschools to provide families with more child care options closer to home.
The education ministry said that its aims in expanding public day care services are to raise the national birth rate and encourage women’s participation in the labor force. Quality child care services not only are essential to children’s development but also create jobs with reasonable salaries and benefits. The ministry is also working out a subsidy mechanism to enable children from disadvantaged households to attend private preschools.
The Executive Yuan said President Tsai has proposed a community care program focusing on day care, long-term care and employment. The first measure, expanding public day care services, consists of building a comprehensive nanny care network and improving the capacity and quality of services by strengthening community training and support services for nannies.
Idle public spaces and campuses will also be converted into public and nonprofit preschools, providing affordable, quality education services to young children and making afterschool care more accessible, the Executive Yuan said.