최종편집 : 2020.4.2 목 13:18
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The Ongoing Controversy over Day-care Center Food Expenses
Sim Seong-a  |  tlatjddk2019@cau.ac.kr
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승인 2020.03.17  23:47:14
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

 

   
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The daily lunch fees at Korean daycare centers, which have been frozen for 22 years, rose for the first time this month. This is because the National Assembly passed the so-called 'Kindergarten 3 Act' on January 13th, which aims to prevent corruption by strengthening the public nature of private kindergartens. The bill includes revisions to the Private School Act, EARLY Childhood Education Act and the School Meals Act. Previously, children's lunch fees were set at 1,745 won per day for children aged 0 to 2, and 2,000 won for children aged 3 to 5 by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. This is far less than the standard cost of food for infants of 2,600 won. For this reason, many civic groups have been campaigning to raise the unit price of school lunches. As a result, the National Assembly raised the daily lunch fee for children aged 0 to 2 to 1,900 won and the standard for daily lunch fees for those aged 3 to 5 to 2,559 won.

       The civic group ‘Political Mothers’ released a survey of 243 daycare centers in local governments and 300 daycare centers for public institutions. The daily lunch fee for daycare centers in Seoul City Hall was the highest at 6,391 won, while daycare centers in Gyeonggi and northern Gyeonggi provinces differed at 4,400 won and 3,200 won, respectively. Each local government is subsidizing some of the meal expenses to compensate for the insufficient costs. However, the situation was different by each local government, where, in some cases, the subsidies were also not given at all, to others, where they provided up to 1,190 won. Against this backdrop, the National Assembly's decision to increase the cost of school lunches was widely welcomed by civic groups and parents. On the one hand, however, concerns have also been raised. This is because there have been a number of cases of corruption that abuse food costs. In fact, a poor diet of daycare centers was recently discovered in Cheongju, where it was found to have deceived parents by sending a picture of a tray full of food not at all like what was actually given. According to a survey of 125 childcare teachers on KBS News, there are even daycare centers that have changed the expiration date from March to August and provided juice past its expiration date to children. The reason why the problem has not been exposed to the public despite frequent irregularities in daycare centers lies in the government's lax management system. The biggest problem cited by teachers who participated in the survey is that the government notifies daycare centers of the inspection before conducting checks. Therefore, daycare centers can avoid government surveillance by simply hiding violations in time for inspection dates.
 With the new 'Kindergarten 3 Act', there are growing expectations that children will be able to have enough food. However, incumbent child care teachers agree in chorus that just increasing the funding may not be enough. In order to ensure children's healthy eating lives, a thorough regular inspection, severe punishment, and a continuous re-confirmation process by childcare authorities are necessary. Also, parents can organize their own monitoring groups to supervise management agencies and to directly check the diets of their children.
 
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