Korea to pay parents of newborns 700K won per month starting Jan. 1

Posted on : 2022-12-14 15:50 KST Modified on : 2022-12-14 15:50 KST
As part of the Health and Welfare Ministry’s childcare plan, daycare instructors will be required to have a degree from a relevant 4-year university department starting in 2025
First Vice Minister of Health and Welfare Lee Ki-il announces the direction of the ministry’s fourth mid- to long-term childcare basic plan at the government complex in Seoul on Dec. 13. (Yonhap)
First Vice Minister of Health and Welfare Lee Ki-il announces the direction of the ministry’s fourth mid- to long-term childcare basic plan at the government complex in Seoul on Dec. 13. (Yonhap)

The government will be providing 700,000 won (US$540) a month to parents of children under 12 months old, and 350,000 won a month to parents of children between 13 and 24 months old, starting in January.

Moreover, the government will require prospective nursery school teachers to have graduated from a relevant four-year university department starting in 2025, when the government’s plan to place nurseries and preschools under the control of provincial and metropolitan offices of education in a bid to unify early childhood education and daycare goes into effect.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced Tuesday its “Fourth Mid-to-Long Term Basic Plan for Childcare,” to be implemented over five years from 2023 to 2027.

Lee Ki-il, the first vice minister of health and welfare, said the plan focuses on bolstering state support optimized for the childhood development stage by providing generous rearing support for young children and improving the quality of childcare services at nursery schools.

To support the rearing of young children, the government will introduce parent subsidies from Jan. 1, as scheduled.

The system provides higher payouts than the system of monthly cash stipends of 300,000 won paid to parents of children under the age of 1 — 500,000 won is provided in voucher form if they attend daycare centers — that began last January.

Starting next year, parents will receive 700,000 won a month for children under the age of 1, and 350,000 won a month for 1-year-olds.

From 2024, this will be expanded to 1 million won and 500,000 won, respectively.

Parents are entitled to a credit of about 500,000 won for daycare fees if they use a nursery school, but parents of 1-year-olds — who receive parent subsidies less than the daycare fees — will receive no additional subsidies.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare expects to make payments for about 323,000 children under the age of 2 next year.

Eligibility for monthly payments of 2 million won to support single-parent households will also be raised from 58% of the median income to 60%.

Eligibility for other childcare services will also be expanded.

Part-time daycare services for children between the ages of 6 months and 36 months will adopt a new model that would unify their classes with existing nursery classes rather than create separate ones, boosting usage rates from under 5% to 10% by 2027.

Childcare services for dual-income families will also be expanded from 75,000 families and 840 hours a month (3.5 hours a day) this year to 85,000 families and 960 hours (four hours a day) next year.

In the case of daycare for disabled children or children under the age of six months, the teacher-to-student ratio will be lowered from 3 students per teacher to 2.

Moreover, the Ministry of Health and Welfare is considering a plan that would require nursery school teachers to receive the same academic qualifications as kindergarten teachers from 2025.

Currently, nursery school teachers receive qualifications if they receive an associate degree or enough academic points through distance learning or academic credit bank, but kindergarten teachers must graduate from a university childhood education department or related field.

The ministry is pushing a plan that would allow current daycare teachers to keep their credentials by completing an additional educational program.

The accrediting conditions to run a nursery school will match those of kindergarten heads, too.

By Lim Jae-hee, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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