Free, free, free at last….!
However, the citizen is actually bound with chains to the central government as it dips into his/her pockets even more.
Report proposes free preschool for 5 year-olds, lower home care allowances and daycare fees
A government working group wants to reduce child home care allowances and daycare fees and fastrack children into preschool. The group hopes to ease the burden of junior care on low income families, develop early childhood education and accelerate mothers’ return to the workplace.
Preschool starting at five
The group issued a report calling for free early childhood education for low-income families. It also recommended a gentler increase in payments as family incomes rise. It proposed that the reforms could be funded in part by higher fees for very high income earners.
At present, preschool is compulsory and children get their first foretaste of elementary school at the age of six. However, the working group is proposing that children in Finland should start preschool at the age of five, and it would be optional to start at that age.
Prodding moms back out to work
The working group also highlighted other research showing that children in low-income and poorly-educated families tend to be cared for at home for a long time. The group said that this is largely because going out to work does not materially increase the family’s cash in hand.
In the language of government circles this dilemma is known as an “incentive trap”. As far as the working group is concerned, it prevents women from returning to work quickly after having a child. At the same time, many children who would benefit from early childhood education end up staying at home.