The number of public daycare centers in Seoul was increased to 1,749 by the end of 2020, which was the largest in 17 cities and provinces in the nation. The rate of use of the daycare centers is 43.8%, about three times as higher as the other cities and provinces (15.1% on average).
On Mon, Feb. 15, 2021, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) announced that it will increase the number of daycare centers to 1,800 by introducing a budget of KRW 20 billion.
First, the SMG will address the gap between areas through the priority support of autonomous districts where the demand is high but the rate of use of public daycare centers is low. In the first half of the year, the SMG will concentrate its budget on turning daycare centers in apartment complexes into public centers where the demand for public care is high, and through the early opening of public daycare centers in new apartment complexes. In particular, starting this year, apartment complexes with less than 300 households can also have a public daycare center if more than half of the residents agree.
Additionally, the SMG will make efforts to establish the exemplary public daycare model by conducting the public daycare center quality improvement project. To this end, the SMG will implement the pilot project of reducing the number of infants/children that are taken care of by one nursing teacher, which is a long-cherished project in the childcare area. The number of infants of 1 year old taken care of by a teacher will be adjusted from 3 to 2, and the number of toddlers of 3 years old taken care of by a teacher will be adjusted from 15 to 10. This pilot project will be expanded after monitoring.
The criteria of the consignment of public daycare centers will be improved as well. The SMG will support excellent consigned centers to operate public daycare centers by introducing an “essential evaluation index,” such as the health and safety of infants/children and installation of facilities, and newly establishing detailed evaluation index according to the changes of childcare policies and environments, including play-centered and eco-friendly childcare.
The SMG will also prepare a new operation model of public daycare centers in 2021 so that they can aim at play-centered and eco-friendly childcare, the participation of parents and the local community, and democratic and open operation.