Home > Opinion
  print button email button

Monday, Dec. 20, 2010

EDITORIAL

Preschoolers in one place

Japan has two kinds of preschool institutions. One is yochi-en (kindergartens) and the other is hoiku-jo (child day-care facilities). Yochi-en, for the education of preschool children, are under the jurisdiction of the education ministry. Children stay at yochi-en for four hours a day.

Hoiku-jo are under the jurisdiction of the welfare ministry. They help working parents, mostly mothers, by taking care of children — in some cases for more than 10 hours a day. Hoiku-jo, equipped with kitchens, can provide meals to children while yochi-en do not have kitchens.

The Democratic Party of Japan government plans to integrate yochi-en and hoiku-jo into a new institution called kodomo-en, which literally means gardens of children.

As an increasing number of mothers opt to work, there are fewer and fewer vacancies for children in hoiku-jo. At the same time, some yochi-en are operating below acceptance quotas or have been closed as Japan's population of children continues to decrease. The government's basic idea is to utilize available rooms at yochi-en to take care of the children of working mothers. The government plans to gradually start introducing kodomo-en in fiscal 2013.

It aims for total integration of existing yochi-en and hoiku-jo facilities after a 10-year transition period. But the government appears too hasty in pushing the plan.

Yochi-en and hoiku-jo operate under completely different laws, and employees have different licenses. The government must tackle such questions as how to integrate the licenses of yochi-en teachers and hoiku-jo workers, and how to integrate the fee systems for the two different institutions.

The government must explain the basic ideas under which kodomo-en will operate, the physical structure and equipment of kodomo-en, and the process of integrating the factors related to yochi-en and hoiku-jo.

Without clear explanations and direction, operators, teachers and workers at yochi-en and hoiku-jo as well as parents will remain confused and kodomo-en won't take root.



Back to Top

About us |  Work for us |  Contact us |  Privacy policy |  Link policy |  Registration FAQ
Advertise in japantimes.co.jp.
This site has been optimized for modern browsers. Please make sure that Javascript is enabled in your browser's preferences.
The Japan Times Ltd. All rights reserved.