Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday announced three measures to improve the preschool system, as well as an accompanying budget increase from NT$9.5 billion (US$305 million) to about NT$40 billion, in the hope of raising the nation’s birth rate and easing the financial burden on young families.
Starting in August, the government would commence projects to increase the number of public kindergartens, complete a transition mechanism for private kindergartens to become semipublic and improve child-rearing subsidies, Su told a news conference in New Taipei City.
The subsidy program would give parents with three or more children a total of NT$42,000 in financial aid per month until the third child turns five, Su said.
Photo: Yu Chao-fu, Taipei Times
Under current subsidy rules, parents of children aged up to five who stay at home or attend private daycare centers would qualify for a monthly subsidy of NT$2,500 per child, while those whose children attend public daycare centers may receive NT$3,000 per child.
As part of measures to improve the preschool environment, the government plans to provide a subsidy of NT$400,000 for the purchase of a kindergarten shuttle bus to realize its goal of replacing 400 buses per year, Su said, adding that he would ask the Ministry of Education to allocate the budget.
The ministry yesterday said that it plans to add 3,000 classes to public and semipublic kindergartens in eight years, adding 86,000 slots nationwide.
It would continue to push its policy of helping private kindergartens become semipublic, thereby capping the tuition families must pay at NT$4,500, the ministry said.
It would also seek to boost the number of such schools so that there are as many public and semipublic kindergartens as private ones, it added.
Touting the measures as “the nation’s largest-ever investment in preschool education,” the ministry said that they are expected to benefit 800,000 children aged two to five.
The three measures were approved during a weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday, Su said.
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