Multilingual day care
To make children proficient in multiple languages at a young age, the cabinet wants to make multilingual day care possible. Through this new law, childcare centres will be allowed to provide child care in German, French or English for a maximum of 50% of the daily hours of care from 2024 onwards. Multilingualism in these three languages can subsequently be continued in primary education. This option already exist for out-of-school care since 2017.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment conducted research that concluded that there is an increasing demand among parents for multilingual care, particularly in English. In the border regions of the Netherlands, there is an increasing demand for German and French.
In recent years, a number of organizations have experimented with multilingual day care. The results of these pilots show that multilingual day care is advantageous both to the native Dutch-speaking children, as well as children who learn Dutch as an additional language. It was concluded that with a distribution of at least 50% Dutch (or Frisian/another regional language) and at most 50% German, English or French has positive effects on the language development of children.
Government and four executive agencies design new childcare funding system
News item | 07-10-2022 | 15:30
Social affairs and employment minister Karin van Gennip will design and builda new childcare funding system jointly with four executive bodies – the Education Executive Agency (DUO), the Tax Administration/Benefits, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) and the Social Insurance Bank (SVB). This approach will enable sharing of expertise and ensure the new system is workable. The plan is set out in a joint letter to the House of Representatives signed by minister Van Gennip, education ministers Robbert Dijkgraaf and Dennis Wiersma, and Aukje de Vries, State Secretary for Benefits and Customs. Stakeholders, including sector associations, trade unions, parents’ associations, and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), will be closely involved throughout the process.
‘The childcare sector performs an essential role in society,’ Ms Van Gennip commented. ‘It allows parents to work and offers children a safe place for their early development. I’m pleased that we can all work together in this innovative way, drawing on the expertise of our executive partners, to create a good, new childcare system. We regard this greenfield project as an excellent way to harness the knowhow and experience of the various organisations. The new system will simplify the way parents pay for childcare and will also boost equality of opportunity for children in the Netherlands. The government contribution of 96% will also improve parents’ financial situation.’
To make the system simpler and more affordable for parents, the state contribution of 96% of the costs will be paid directly to the childcare organisations. This means parents will no longer be at risk of having to repay part of their childcare allowance. The new system will make it easier to combine parenting and work.
Key points for improvement
In the new system the government will pay 96% of the maximum hourly rate for childcare, regardless of parents’ earnings. The effects of this increased benefit will be closely monitored. Access to childcare in the new system is a key consideration, so research has been commissioned into how childcare organisations can be financed, including through private equity. Depending on the findings, extra measures may be taken if necessary.
The system reform is likely to increase demand for childcare, even though the sector is currently struggling with major staff shortages. Ms Van Gennip and childcare sector representatives have already presented joint plans for tackling this problem. In addition, research is being done into how demand for staff will develop, the labour supply and the labour market situation from now until the end of 2031.
The new system is due to take effect from 1 January 2025. This time frame is ambitious. It requires the design phase to be completed by July 2023, after which construction will begin. All the parties involved will then make an informed decision on which organisation will implement the new system.