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Preschool education budget raised by NT$30 billion to ease parents' burdens

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Premier Su Tseng-chang announced Friday that a series of child care assistance measures for families with children ages 2-5 will be fully implemented starting August this year to ease the financial burden on parents. These include increasing the number of public preschools, subsidizing private preschools to make them more affordable, and expanding subsidies for child-rearing expenses.

The government will also raise the preschool education budget to nearly NT$40 billion (US$1.3 million) next year—a massive increase from the NT$9.5 billion (US$294 million) in 2016—to ensure better care for the 800,000 preschool children nationwide, he said at a press conference in New Taipei City.

The Ministry of Education explained that the three measures targeting children ages 2-5 were outlined in a policy plan to counter the declining birthrate published by the Executive Yuan in July 2018. First, the number of public and nonprofit preschool classes will be increased by 3,000 from 2017 to 2024 to add space for 86,000 students. Second, more private preschools will be subsidized to create a quasi-public system where families pay no more than NT$4,500 (US$144) a month for tuition (the ratio of public and quasi-public to private preschools has now climbed to 5:5). Under the third measure, the government will offer child-rearing subsidies for parents who stay at home to care for their children ages 2-4, providing NT$2,500 (US$80) per month per child, and an additional NT$1,000 (US$32) per month for the third child and after.

This is the largest investment in preschool education ever made in the nation's history, the ministry said.

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