Premier Lin Chuan visited the Taipei Children's Amusement Park today for a carnival celebrating the upcoming Children's Day, a national holiday observed April 4 each year in Taiwan.
"Seeing children always lifts my spirits because they represent hope and the future, and everything we do now is to hand the next generation a better society," the premier said. "Children are the hope of the nation, so this generation must redouble its efforts to make a better world for the next generation."
Taiwan has much room for improvement in terms of child care and education, the premier continued. People nowadays are having fewer children because they feel pressure from environmental factors and from themselves. Taiwan has many families where both parents work, and it is hard on them because society has not provided a better environment, so the government will work long and hard to make caring for children easier.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) launched an expansion program for public childhood education and care systems last year that aims to raise the ratio of children enrolled in public-sector preschools from 30 to 40 percent within four years. Premier Lin pledged that the government will speed up program implementation.
Another burden weighing heavily on parents is the fierce competition their children face for admission to schools. Under the current education system, the overemphasis on entering prestigious schools and earning diplomas and degrees has put a lot of pressure on children. The premier asked the MOE to consider promoting non-mainstream education approaches to elementary, secondary and higher education so that parents can have more quality options to choose from for their children. The government will also increase public awareness of the need for diversified education.
Even more important is enabling social mobility and providing opportunities for better development to children from disadvantaged families, the premier continued. After the administration took office last year, the MOE launched a children and youth education development fund where the government sets up individual savings accounts for disadvantaged children, and makes matching contributions each month until the child reaches age 18. Aside from encouraging young people to make saving money a lifelong habit, the program urges private-sector charities to sponsor and help children build a financial foundation before entering society. The government thus hopes to create a better educational environment where children can continue learning at each stage of growth.
Every child is precious to society and should be given the best care so they can grow up safe and healthy, Premier Lin said, so protecting their well-being is society's responsibility. Taking this approach, the government will endeavor to improve children's education, protection and development while encouraging the public to join these efforts.