To implement preschool education policy and increase educational opportunities for preschool children, the Ministry of Education launched the "5-year-old Child Education Support Plan" (Child Education Support Plan for short) in 2004. Support was gradually extended from children living in the three counties and three townships on offshore islands and those from low-income and lower-income families to cover every 5-year-old in the ROC. In the 2009 school year, the criteria of tuition funding for 5-year-olds were established in line with the income and the number of children of each household. Disadvantaged families are now able to send their 5-year-old children to receive good preschool education. In the first semester of the 2009 school year, over one hundred thousand children from families with incomes below NT$600,000 received the benefit and as many as 93.74% of the 5-year-olds from disadvantaged families were able to attend kindergarten. The result of the Child Education Support Plan has been remarkable.
In addition to allocating subsidies for preschool child education expenses, the plan also includes setting up kindergartens in elementary schools in aboriginal townships, towns and cities where preschool education establishments are inadequate, providing funding for after-school care in public kindergartens, as well as providing transportation or giving transportation subsidies for 5-year-old children living far away from their schools. The achievements of the plan in the 2009 school year are as follows:
In order to look after the disadvantaged and carry out the government's population policy, the Child Education Support Plan has been implemented through a social welfare funding approach. With limited financial resources, the government has to take gradual steps to demonstrate its commitment to helping families in child education. Nevertheless, the implementation of the Child Education Support Plan has already taken Taiwan one step closer to free education for all 5-year-old children.