The institutions of pre-school education in our nation include preschools and nursery schools: both institutions hope that children of the same age can accept identical quality educare services. In December 1997, the 2256th Meeting of the Executive Yuan decided to review and research the idea of the integration of preschools and nursery schools. On June 20, 2005, the Ministry of Education was named as the competent authority on preschools, after the integration of preschools and nursery schools. Therefore, the Ministry of Education has actively promoted the integration of preschools and nursery schools.
The Early Childhood Education and Care Act, closely connected to the reform of the educare system of the pre-school stage, was announced by the president on June 29, 2011, and implemented on January 1, 2012, after 14 years of promotion. To carry out the integration of the educare system, preschools and nursery schools were all changed into preschools. Children of age 2 and above, before entry into primary schools, are target enrollment students. Nowadays, the integration of the education system is about to meet the needs of families with children in educare services. The Statute of Preschool Educators was announced on April 6, 2017, to establish comprehensive regulations of preschool educators.
To carry out the spirit of the Statute of Preschool Educators preschools should offer quality, fair, prevalent, and convenient pre-school educare services, and build up a comprehensive educare service system. The Ministry of Education has actively promoted pre-school educare policies, as explained belows:
Implementation of free tuition or tuition subsidies for 5-year-old children, in order to increase the preschools enrollment rate of pre-school stage
To lighten parents’ burden in child-raising, the Ministry of Education organized free tuition or tuition subsidies for 5-year-old children. Children at age 5 before September 1 at the start of the academic year, and who meet the conditions of Article 5 of the Regulation of Subsidies for Children Studying in Preschools, will be offered tuition subsidies. Subsidies for school fees other than tuition are offered to those with economic difficulties. In addition to the aforementioned two subsidies, the most disadvantaged children may enter into public preschools with free tuition; and they may also enter into private preschools with a maximum subsidy of NT$ 60,000 for each academic year.
Accelerate the expansion of fair educare services and lighten parents’ burden in child-raising
Since 2018, in accordance with the Project of Strategies for Confronting the Low Birthrate of Our Nation (2018-2022), 1,247 classes in public preschools have been provided via the Project of Expansion of Public Educare Services (2017-202) and the Project of Campus Community Modification in the Forward-Looking Infrastructure. Ensuring that every primary school had an attached preschool was the goal that was expected to be achieved, and thereby 1,000 classes would be added to the national total. To further accelerate the quantity of public educare services, 3,000 classes are estimated to be increased during 8 years (2017-2024). Compared with the original target of 753 extra classes to provide for the needs of 19,000 children, the new total enrollment number is expected to provide for 79,000 children.
Although the government had accelerated the expansion of public services, the requirements of young families still could not be satisfied in the short term. Consequently, in 2018, the system of quasi-public preschools was proposed, which would be undertaken in cooperation with private preschools which met the following standards: a reasonable range of fees, moderate salaries of preschool educators, basic evaluations, a qualified report on the building of public security, the qualification of regulations in human resources of preschool educators, and quality educare services. By the cooperation between the government and private preschools, a sufficient quantity of fair and quality educare services will be timely provided.
Specifically, to lighten parents’ burdens, children of age 2-4 who meet the following standards would be offered NT$30,000 in subsidies every year as from the academic year 108; the third child or other junior children of the family will receive an extra NT$12,000 in subsidies every year: first, children of age 2-4, that is to say children less than 5 years old before the 1st September of the current academic year; second, the individual income tax of the family would be lowered by 20% after confirmation of the taxation authority; third, families who are not receiving subsidies of parental leave without pay; fourth, children who are not receiving the public or quasi-public services such as other private educare services that their families select.