Integrating Early Childhood Education and Care in the Republic of Korea

The 6th OECD ECEC Network Meeting
December 7-8th, 2009
Integrating Early Childhood
Education and Care
in the Republic of Korea
Mugyeong Moon
Korea Institute of Child Care and Education
Facts and Statistics
Population : 48 million, Fertility rate : 1.19 (2008)
GDP per capita : USD 21,530 (28,120 PPP) (2008) (IBRD)
Children at age 0 to 5 : 2,744,597 (2008)
3 months of paid maternity leave (USD 400 per month) &
1 year paid parental leave (USD 500 per month)
Duration of compulsory school education : 6-15 years (6 yrs
of elementary & 3yrs of middle school)
Unit cost per child in kindergarten (in USD using PPP) : USD
3,393 (OECD, Education at a Glance, 2009)
Funding of services for children under age 3 : 0.36% of GDP
Rate of access to regulated services:
- Children under 3 yrs, 26%,
- Children 3 to 5 yrs, 88.2% ( kindergarten & childcare) (2008)
8,344 kindergartens (537,822 Children) & 32,149 childcare (family
daycare 46.3%) (1,091,287 children) (2008)
34,601 teachers/directors in KGs & 191,103 in childcare
ECEC Systems
- Split & Dual Parallel System
Early Childhood Education
Age of children
3 to 5
0 to 5
(childcare centers & family
Gov. Auspice
Ministry of Education,
Science and Technology
Ministry of Health, Welfare
and Family Affairs
(Since Feb, 2008)
Early Childhood Education Act
(legislated in Jan. 2004)
Childcare Act
(Since 1991)
National Kindergarten Curri.
(Since 1976)
National Childcare Curriculum
(Since 2007)
Teacher Training
4 yr, 3yr, 2yr college
4 yr, 2yr college &
1yr post high school
Legal base
Motivation for Integration
Increasing similarities of service targets and functions
between education and care
Policy incoherence and inefficiency
- A need to develop policy alternatives to boost rationality and
equity in allocating the ECEC budget
Confusion of families with 3-5 yr olds due to multiple
ECEC institutions
Division of staff working with children, etc.
 Cooperation and integration of ECEC emerged as
the top priority policy task in Korea
Major Stakeholders
• MW
Associations of kindergartens
Associations of Childcare
Professors and students of
Dept. of Early Childhood
Professors and students of
Dept. of Child Development and
Famili Study
Integrating 0 to 5
Or 3 to 5
Integrating 0 to 5
Or 0 to 4
* The issue of integration is beyond policies , a matter of politics.
Efforts to Integrate ECEC
Integration of ECEC issued as part of education reform plan
developed by Presidential Commission (1993)
A special committee on early childhood edu. Reform under the
Prime Minister’s Office (1997-1999)
- Proposed a new integrated ECEC system for children 0 to 5
- a strong resistance of MW & childcare association
Legislating Early Childhood Education Act (Jan. 2004)
ECEC committee formed for ECEC policy coordination
(Dec. 2004)
Establishing a national research institute, Korea Institute of
Childcare and Education (Dec. 2005)
Research on Integration
Developing models to integrate ECEC (2006)
Facilitating cooperation between kindergartens and childcare
centers (2007)
Developing measures to integrate ECEC systems (2008)
Developing and applying models of cooperation of ECEC
(2009-2011): “YoungCha Project”
- win-win strategy
- bottom-up approach & ownership
- support & collaboration of local governments
- mobilizing community resources
- implementing within the current systems
- empirical and objective evidence
Free education and care
- Increasing public investment in ECEC
Designating a superior government body to oversee policy
coordination between ministries
Integration of ECEC teacher training systems
Integration of kindergarten and childcare curricular
Integrating quality assurance schems
More dialogues among stakeholders