On Dec. 20th, the SMG announced the SMG Childcare Vision 2020 composed of 18 projects in five sectors with the aim of realizing public childcare service both in quality and quantity. The five sectors include: ① improvement of childcare service in both quality and quantity, ② fostering a carefree childcare atmosphere, ③ fostering a pleasant workplace atmosphere for nursing teachers, ④ provision of a customized childcare system, and ⑤ dissemination of childcare-friendly local culture and reinforcement of collation systems.
① Increasing the Number of National/Public Childcare Centers to 2,154 by 2020
The SMG is planning to increase the number of national/public centers to 2,154 by 2020. Raising the ratio of national/public childcare centers by up to 30% and raising the percentage of children taken care of at national/public childcare centers by up to 50% through the following: balanced allocation with local demand taken into account, turning well-performing private daycare centers into national/public ones, reduction of the expense for expansion/improvement through collaboration between public and private sector daycare centers.
The number of those at the Seoul Childcare Service Support Center manpower pool, which is a public system for the management of qualified nursing teachers, will be increased to 2,600, i.e. three times the current level (716 as of 2015).
② Adoption of the System of Daycare Center Safety Management Officers and Joint Accountants
The SMG will take a step forward in fostering a carefree childcare atmosphere through the adoption of the system of daycare center safety management officers and joint accountants.
The safety management officers, who have been qualified in the field of engineer industrial safety and facility safety for years, will be assigned the duty of conducting safety inspections of 1,615 daycare centers more than 20 years old and solving simple problems. The ten accountants, who will be hired in 2017, will perform a test operation and the number will be increased to 200 by 2020.
③ Reducing the Number of Children to be Taken Care of by Each Nursing Teacher to 8
The nursing teacher-child ratio will be readjusted to a level similar to those of major countries (i.e. from present 12 to 8) (cf. 9.2 in Germany, 9.4 in Austria, and 5.8 in Sweden) by increasing the number of helping hands (from present 4,658 to 5,600 by 2020) by spending 148.7 billion won.
The nursing teacher ranking system will adopt the following method: ordinary teachers → senior teachers → vice director → director in an effort to improve the treatment of nursing teachers and enhance the quality of childcare.
④ Sophistication of Childcare Support System (i.e. Daycare centers with longer-than-usual open hours, Daycare centers with parent-led participations, etc.)
Focus will be made on the provision of support for working parents, multicultural households and households with disabled children.
The number of daycare centers with longer-than-usual open hours will be increased from present 11 to 25 (in all autonomous districts) by 2018
Integrated daycare centers for disabled children will be increased from present 334 to 360 (one in each dong). Integrated daycare centers for multicultural households will be increased from present 49 to 70 in 2020, with focus on areas where many migrant workers live.
⑤ Dissemination of Childcare-friendly Local Culture and Reinforcement of Collation Systems
The Central Support Center for Childcare operated in each autonomous district of Seoul, which is the only city in the country with such a system, will start a system for entrusted operation of national/public childcare centers on a trial basis in an attempt to reinforce the public model of childcare. The number of such entrusted centers will be increased from 20 in 2017 to 100 by 2020. The number of neighborhood childcare chiefs will be increased from present 132 to 170 by 2019.
The SMG’s support for private daycare centers will also be strengthened in consideration of their importance in the overall childcare service system. This year, the SMG expanded the support for helping hands, which was provided only to national/public daycare centers until 2015, to private centers. The SMG also increased the financial support provided to parents using private daycare centers. The SMG also plans to provide financial incentives like facility repair expenses to centers setting an example in improvement of the treatment of nursing teachers and compensation.