Kindergarten subsidies are to be expanded as part of broader moves to shake up the structure of Taipei’s social welfare benefits, the Department of Education said yesterday.
The age limit for children receiving city subsidies to attend private kindergartens is to be lowered to four, Department of Education Chief Secretary Chen Shun-ho (陳順和) said.
In addition to encouraging childbirth, the new subsidies are intended to give parents an incentive to send their children to school earlier rather than staying at home with grandparents, he said.
The new subsidies would be available to all four-year-old children whose households are registered in Taipei, he said, adding that there were “technical issues” which had prevented the city government from attaching provisions excluding wealthy residents.
Under the new rules, four-year-olds attending private kindergartens would be eligible to receive a NT$2,543 (US$81) subsidy every semester. The city government also provides a subsidy of NT$5,543 every semester to five-year-old children who attend public kindergartens, but it does not intend to lower age requirements.
These kindergarten subsidies come on top of a biannual NT$15,000 subsidy provided by the Ministry of Education and city government for children aged between one and five.
Department of Education preschool division chief Shih Yan-ping (施燕萍) said the subsidy was directed toward children attending private kindergartens because they are considerably more expensive than public ones.
Provisions excluding wealthy city residents were not added because of the high administrative costs of having to review family eligibility, she said.
The department estimates that NT$60 million in new subsidies will be paid out every year.
Chen said that the funds would come through coordination with other departments.
The Chinese-language China Times yesterday reported that the new subsidy would be paid for by cutting annual Double Ninth Festival (重陽節) cash payments to the city’s elderly residents.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Wednesday said that city social welfare spending should be realigned to focus on young children at the expense of elderly residents.
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