Launching the Neighborhood Child Care Leaders Group
Date: May 16, 2013
Venue: Main Conference Hall, Seoul City Hall
Today, I am very happy to meet with our neighborhood child care leaders. Last month, it was reported that a teacher assaulted some children at a daycare center in Busan. Parents everywhere must have been shocked and very concerned upon hearing such news. But we may now rest a little easier as we have you, the “Our Neighborhood Child Care Leaders,” in Seoul.
Last year, when I visited Yokohama City, which is famous for its nurseries and daycare centers, the mayor said that he had no significant worries about child care in his city because they employ child care coordinators. The role of these child care coordinators is to connect parents with daycare centers suitable for their children and provide important information on raising children.
These are your responsibilities as well. It is your job to know the particular characteristics of all daycare centers on the list for your respective districts, including the management styles of the presidents and personalities of the teachers. At the parents’ request, you must readily provide the best possible information, and you are expected to be familiar with vacancies, nutrition, and the teachers in the daycare centers, taking as much time and consideration as you would for your own children.
I have promised to build two public daycare centers in each dong administrative area, and last year, we exceeded our goals. By taking advantage of unused spaces at public institutions through collaboration between the private and public sectors, and by using multi-unit housing, we reduced costs to one fourth of the original estimate.
However, it is not enough to simply build more daycare centers; the quality of education should be improved and managed as well. Of course, this is primarily the responsibility of the presidents and teachers of public daycare centers, but our communities should also be involved. In particular, your role as Child Care Leaders is critical as you have the power to directly match daycare resources with the parents who needs them.
I know that you receive little compensation for your work and responsibilities from Seoul Metropolitan City, and we are sorry for putting an additional burden on the professional child care coordinators by asking them to train and guide Neighborhood Child Care Leaders.
Nevertheless, I hope that we can all carry out this project perfectly, as this undertaking will lead to a brighter future for our society. I would like to share with you my favorite African proverb: “We need more than mothers to raise our children; we need other children, other parents, and the whole village.” I look forward to your genuine support and effective guidance on child care issues. Thank you.