Measures that Counter Falling Fertility Rate (Early education and care for children aged 2 to 6)
The Executive Yuan has implemented extensive child-rearing support measures aimed at alleviating the phenomenon of below-replacement fertility. In July 2018, the Executive Yuan approved the “Measures that Counter Falling Fertility Rate,” guided by three major principles: “Increase the number of spots available at an affordable ECEC (early childhood education and care),” “Reduce tuition costs,” and “Grant child-rearing allowances.” These were incorporated into the “National Child Care Policy for ages 0-6.” Child-rearing allowances have been extended to encompass all parents of young children, regardless of their household income, and additionally, school subsidies have been expanded to cover families with five-year-old children who have not been enrolled in school since January 2023. Adjust strategies in a timely manner to expand the scope of assistance so that families with children can receive more comprehensive care. The objective is to ensure that 70% of school-going children have access to affordable ECEC services.
1. Increase the number of spots available at an affordable ECEC
The Ministry of Education has consistently prioritized increasing the provision of public ECEC services as a major policy objective. In 2023, it added 317 classes, marking a total increase of 3,409 classes since 2017 (equating to an additional 76,000 spots). Under the "Measures that Counter Falling Fertility Rate” policy, this expansion rate is 2.4 times higher than the previous 17 years (from 1999 to 2016) before the policy's implementation. For the 2023 academic year, the supply quota for public ECEC services stands at approximately 259,000.
Furthermore, to diversify parental options for affordable ECEC services, the government facilitated collaboration opportunities for private preschools that meet six specific criteria. By the 2023 academic year, quasi-public preschools totaled 1,947, providing around 218,000 affordable admission quotas. Combined, public and quasi-public preschools provide about 477,000 affordable admission quotas.
2. Reduce tuition costs
Children attending public, non-profit, and quasi-public preschools pay a fixed monthly fee, with the difference between this fee and the original preschool fees subsidized by the government directly to the preschool. This reduction in payments enables parents to perceive a substantial decrease in their children's monthly educational expenses, gradually decreasing the payment amount. From August 2022, parents pay a maximum of 3,000 NTD per child each month, with further reductions based on the birth order of the children.
As of November 2022, the enrollment rate for 2-year-olds has exceeded 49% (an almost 34% increase from 2016), and for children aged 3 to under 6, it reached over 90% (an almost 16% increase from 2016). The tangible reduction in tuition costs incentivizes parents to enroll their children in preschool at an earlier age.
3. Grant child-rearing allowances
Parents of children aged 2 to 6 who opt to care for their children personally or enroll them in regular private preschools receive monthly child-rearing allowances or schooling subsidies. Child-rearing allowances or school subsidies have been incrementally increased over time. Parents apply for these benefits themselves, with monthly disbursements directly deposited into their designated accounts, thereby alleviating family burdens. From August 2022, the first child receives 5,000 NTD per month, with additional allowances or subsidies for subsequent children.
Moreover, in October 2022, during the 3826th Executive Yuan meeting, it was decided that child-rearing allowances were extended to encompass all parents of young children, regardless of their household income, and additionally, school subsidies were expanded to cover families with five-year-old children who had not been enrolled in school since January 2023.