The Cabinet decided Thursday to expand the accessibility of public kindergartens around the country to reduce the financial burden on parents, by adding 1,000 classes to accommodate 30,000 students within the next four years, with priority given to children from low-income families.
Announcing the decision at a weekly Cabinet meeting, Premier Lin Chuan (??) said the government hopes to raise the proportion of preschoolers enrolled in public kindergartens to 40 percent by 2020, up from the current 30 percent, according to Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (???).
Lin instructed the Ministry of Education (MOE) to work out a plan to achieve the goal soon and present it to the Cabinet.
He also instructed the MOE to supervise local governments in releasing idle spaces for use by not-for-profit kindergartens. When promoting the effort, the ministry should take the rural-urban divide and local characteristics into consideration and provide local governments with more flexibility, he added.
As the increase in public kindergarten spaces will inevitably threaten the survival of private kindergartens, the premier told the MOE to provide incentives to encourage private kindergartens to transform themselves and join the non-profit kindergarten system.
According to Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (???), the government's goal is to increase the ratio between public and private kindergartens from 3:7 to 4:6 within four years.
He said the effort is expected to cost NT$6.2 billion (US$196.53 million), 90 percent of which will be contributed by the central government and 10 percent by local governments.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel