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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 January 19 - 25  > Kan proposes ‘full privatization’ of public childcare system
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2011 January 19 - 25 [WELFARE]

Kan proposes ‘full privatization’ of public childcare system

January 25, 2011
The Kan Cabinet on January 24 made a proposal to drastically change the current childcare system by ending pubic financial support for nursery schools and kindergartens. The government, by only providing some benefits for individual parents, will promote the “full marketization” of the public day-care system.

Under the plan, the present childcare program financed by public funds will be abandoned, while subsidies for kindergartens, in principle, will also be abolished, although the government says that it will continue to review the measure.

Full privatization means that suppliers of day-care services will earn their incomes only through the “sales of services” based on how many children they care for and how many hours they look after the children. This will inevitably worsen the quality of childcare services by making the administration of nursery schools unstable and lowering the quality of care.

Meanwhile, the government plans to establish a “kodomo-en” in fiscal 2013, a day care facility unifying nurseries and kindergartens, where various kinds of entities including non-profit organizations and business corporations can join in management. It is also encouraging current nursery schools and kindergartens to transform into kodomo-en over the next ten years through the provision of financial measures. However, according to the cabinet, after this period, some nursery schools for children aged two or less and kindergartens will still continue to exist.

The cabinet proposal states that facilities providing unique early education programs can collect extra fees in addition to the regular ones. Furthermore, as no limit on the amount of charges for day care services is set, a mechanism widening the gap between the rich and the poor will be created where more and more people unable to pay the increased amount of fees will not be able to use the service.
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