As a part of the efforts to overcome the low-fertility crisis and respond to greater calls for the state’s role in the care and education of infants during early childhood, government spending has increased in line with the expansion on policies including the Nuri curriculum for 3 to 5 years, free-of-charge childcare for 0 to 2 years, as well as childcare allowances. In this study, we attempt to make mid-to-long term forecasts of the future demand for early childhood education and care services by taking account of the detailed policy factors affecting all children aged 0 to 5 years, Korean society’s rapidly progressing trends of low fertility and population aging, as well as the observed changes in facility use due to the expansion of related policies and subsidy spending. Based on these assessments, we then examine the projected costs implied by various policy scenarios, so as to provide basic research material to inform the design of future policies relating to early childhood education and care.
In conducting this study, we begin by examining the current status of early childhood education and care, the contents of current government policies, as well as the scale of associated spending in these areas. Second, based on data from daycare centers and kindergartens from 2003 to 2014, we forecast the demand for these facilities from 2015 to 2024, using time series models for each region and age group. Third, we construct a projection model for fiscal spending in support programs and subsidies associated with early childhood education and care, extracting possible policy determinants of the scale of the necessary spending. Based on these, we derive the projected costs associated with various different scenarios. Finally, based on our findings and expected future policies, we consider some measures to secure the stability of financing for early childhood education and care programs, as well as enhancing the efficiency of how the funds are administered.
We found that the total number of children aged 0 to 5 in 2015 was 3,194,562 persons, which is expected to fall by 60,484 persons (1.9%) to 3,134,078 persons by 2024. The number of children eligible for enrollment in daycare centers or kindergartens, by age group, is expected to fall by 1.4% (age 0), 1.5% (age 1), 1.4% (age 2), 1.4% (age 3), 6.8% (age 4), respectively, while rising by 1.1% in the case of 5-year olds. As of 2015, the total number of infants enrolled in daycare centers or kindergartens was 2,108,059 persons. Using these forecasts of future demand for early childhood education and care to calculate the projected fiscal costs, we find that if the current unit costs for each component of fiscal spending remain constant, projected spending will rise from 14 trillion 481.5 billion KRW as of 2015 to 14 trillion 578.2 billion KRW by 2016, while reverting to a trend decrease during the subsequent years to a level of roughly 14 trillion 400 billion KRW.
Our findings therefore suggest that an integrated approach must be followed in considering plans for accommodating infants in early childhood education and care facilities, as well as plans for the supply and demand of childcare services. Furthermore, in order to enhance the quality of childcare, alleviate the care burden of parents, and ensure the successful integration of daycare centers and kindergartens, we propose that long-term plans (including concrete steps for implementation) must first be drawn up to secure the means to finance the associated costs into the future. Finally, in order to enhance the efficiency of the services currently being funded by fiscal spending, we propose that the duration of free education / childcare be redefined and that standard charge rates for education and childcare services be introduced.
Table Of Contents
Ⅱ. 연구의 배경
Ⅲ. 유아교육과 보육 중장기 수요 예측
Ⅳ. 유아교육과 보육 재정 지출 전망