Japan offers free education for low-income families

“The financial burden of education and child-rearing weighs heavily on young people, becoming a bottleneck for them to give birth and raise children. That is why we are making (education) free.” These are the words of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he appeared before a parliamentary session Thursday last week 9th of May 2019.

 

In an effort to address the serious decline of the youth’s population, the Japanese government planned to make preschool education free. Sometime in April of 2019, the lower house passed a bill for this particular purpose which was ultimately approved by the House of Councillors and passed as legislation last Friday, 10th of May.

 

Photo credit to: https://www.japantimes.co.jp

According to reports, the program under this new legislation includes free preschool education for all children between the ages 3 to 5 years old as well as day-care services for low-income families with children up to 2 years of age.

 

The program of free preschool education, however, is not an all-encompassing one. The same is offered only to preschools that are authorized by local governments, news reports say. For preschools without the accreditation from the appropriate government agencies, a maximum monthly financial assistance of 37,000 Japanese yen will be granted for each child between the ages mentioned above. School lunches are not included in the coverage.

 

This program is expected to cost the Japanese government approximately 776 billion yen per year. To implement this project, the government will be sourcing the required funds from the planned consumption tax hike which was initiated in October of last year. This shift in the prioritization national concerns shows how serious the government of Japan is in their attempts to prevent the continuation of their aging society.

 

The bicameral legislature of Japan, otherwise known as the National Diet, also passed a bill in order to augment the finances of low-income families and provide free education or at least reduced education fees at public and private universities. News sources announced that this system might see its implementation as early as April of next year.

 

Reference: Japan enacts legislation making preschool education free

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