Taiwan to expand public day care services

  • Date: 2016-08-16
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

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.