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Introducing Taipei’s Version of Quasi-public Kindergarten to Ensure Quality Education

Mayor Ko at the press conference for quasi-public kindergartensOn June 23, Mayor Ko Wen-je attended a press conference at Hujiang Senior High School announcing the addition of quasi-public preschools into the City’s preschool education scheme.
In compliance with the central government’s policy, the Department of Education began implementing Taipei’s version of Quasi-public Kindergarten in the 2019 school year and invited private kindergarten to join the list of quasi-public kindergartens. He stressed that the quality of education for toddlers will be sustained through a gradual increase of preschool teacher’s salary.
Citing Taipei’s low fertility rate which dipped to 1.08 in 2019, Ko stressed that it reflects bigger problem which puts national security at risk. In theory, the ideal figure for achieving a balance among the population is 2.1. While some people suggest childbirth subsidy as a possible answer, he believes that the cost spanning childrearing and education is daunting. That is why he prefers to tackle the problem separately at the different stages.
Regarding Taipei’s preschool policies, survey has shown that roughly 90-percent of parents are satisfied with the overall quality of Taipei’s preschool education. However, one of main issues they have problems with is the cost. The monthly tuition for public kindergarten is NT$2,500, which is a difference exceeding NT$10,000 when compared with the tuition of private schools.
To provide parents with affordable preschool options, the city government currently offers the choices of public and non-profit kindergartens. The ground level of many newly constructed public and social housing buildings hosts non-profit kindergartens. Another approach is to help with the transition of private kindergartens into quasi-public kindergartens. Basically, the city government will create a list of criteria for quasi-public kindergartens. It will subsidize institutions which are able to meet these standards.
The current quasi-public kindergarten policy of the central government is to reduce the parents’ burden to below NT$4,500 per month. However, due to the low fertility rate, parents try to give their kids the best possible care. Unfortunately, it is a challenge to secure quality teachers with an average monthly salary of NT29,000. During his discussion with the Commissioner of Education, Ko emphasized that this issue needs to be resolved even if the city government has to provide subsidies.
Noting that it is impossible to do everything at once, the mayor remarked that the city will allocate a funding of NT$100 million during the initial stage. The policy will undergo rolling adjustments based on market price and the city government’s finance health, seeking to gradually increase teachers’ pay.