The Korea Childcare Promotion Institute is the nation's only public institution for childcare. It was established to provide education services for the healthy growth and development of young children.
Since its establishment in 2010, the KCPI has been focused on developing childcare policies. The KCPI promotes various tasks, including childcare center evaluation, credential & certificate of childcare teachers and capacity building, and quality management of public childcare.
To commemorate his first anniversary in the position, Director Ra expressed his ambition, saying, "I am always willing to listen to various demands addressing the difficulties of childcare in the era of coexisting with COVID-19."
Q : There have been many changes in the childcare environment amid the untact era. How do you respond to the changes?
A : Children learn knowledge and social skills through interaction. This is why experience learning is so important. Masks have made communication more difficult for young children because they learn how to talk by watching the speaker's lip. Therefore, wearing masks have made a significant impact on early childhood development. Developmental Language Delay (DLD) is the major cause of hindering a child’s growth. Government-led budget support and social infrastructure expansion are needed, similar to what has been offered by the UK government, which provides full support to tackle DLD for young children.
Q : What policies will Korea need to enact to provide more childcare support in this low fertility era?
A : There’s no silver bullet to increase fertility rate immediately. Low fertility is caused by a combination of socio-economic factors. Given the many reasons, including people deciding to remain single, gender conflict, discontinuing one’s career, skyrocketing house prices and private education expenses, and entering a super-aging society, we need to find comprehensive measures to address those issues. We should recognize that the decline in work-population is a major concern. Comprehensive and integrated policies need to be adopted by the government and relevant ministries.
Q : Tell me about the national estimate for an early childcare workforce.
A : Among 310,000 childcare workers, about 210,000 work in childcare fields. The childcare teacher education program is not yet as systematically organized as it is for kindergarten teachers. The government needs to foster the ability of future childcare teachers through learning and growing programs. And completing a professional certificate or license program will improve the teacher's expertise that can lead to success working in the field. Currently, the KCPI offers the "Mind-up Project" and it is very popular. The Mind-up Project provides stress management and capacity building programs for the participants. But due to budget constraints, only 30,000 participants can attend.
Q : Can you please offer a message of hope and a vision of KCPI to children, parents, and childcare teachers?
A : The main task of KCPI is to bridge the gap between childcare work and the government. KCPI aims to become a "Childcare Hub" that provides systematic support for Korean childcare policy. With 127 support centers for childcare across the nation, KCPI will try to accurately reflect the policies needed for the childcare field. We will put our full focus on helping families experiencing challenges with childcare, and establishing a system to making teachers happy and healthy in the workplace.
By Yang Jung-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)