Seoul to provide 100 day care centersThe Seoul city government said it will provide 100 public day care centers, as more than 100,000 parents in Seoul are waiting their turn to send their children to day care.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government said they will open 100 new public day care centers in 23 areas in Seoul that do not have sufficient facilities by the end of the year, to provide for a large number of citizens who are waiting to receive benefits from the city government’s welfare system.
The municipal government explained that child care is much less expensive, including extracurricular activities, than private facilities and that public facilities also have better teachers.
Public teachers are paid more than private teachers, the government says, and thus more and more parents prefer sending their children to public over private centers.
But only 10.8 percent of Seoul’s day care centers are public facilities.
Previously, the city government announced that it will provide at least two day care centers in every dong, or neighborhood, by the end of 2014 and said on Sunday that they will open 100 of them by the end of the year as part of the initial plan.
It estimated that about 6,000 children will be able to use such facilities.
The city government stated that those 173 areas, including Hwigyeong 1-dong, in Dongjak District, southwestern Seoul, Donam 1-dong, in Seongbuk District, northern Seoul, as well as Seocho 4-dong of Seocho District in southern Seoul, which have no public child day care centers, are priority areas for the project.
“About 22.1 percent of Seoul’s children currently use public facilities,” said Cho Hyun-ok, director of the city government’s family policy division.
“We will focus on areas that are below the city’s average.”
Cho added that areas including Seodaemun and Geumho districts in central Seoul as well as Guro District, western Seoul, have at least two public facilities, but they need additional facilities as a number of large apartment complexes were recently built.
The city government will utilize some vacant public facilities such as public libraries and recreation centers as child day care centers. The government said 19 vacant public facilities were already changed into child care centers last year.
By Kim Sung-tak, Kwon Sang-soo [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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