Tuesday 15 June 2021

Only half of parents in favour of four days of free childcare: survey

Just over half of parents are in favour of free daycare for children, a survey by parents’ organisations Ouders& Onderwijs and the Stichting Voor Werkende Ouders has shown.

Only 52% of the 46,653 respondents said they would support four days of free child care. Some 43% did not like for the idea at all while 5% had no opinion on the subject.

‘This outcome surprised us as well,’ Marjet Winsemius, director of Ouders& Onderwijs, told the AD. ‘We asked parents why they would be against such a scheme. They said that childcare might become an obligation if it were offered for free. They also wondered if the quality would be the same,’ Winsemius said.

The survey is an indication of what parents want for their children and can be used as input during the formation talks, the organisers said.

D66, the second largest party, campaigned for four days free child care for children under four and free after-school care for 4 to 12 year-olds. Calculations by the government macro-economic think tank CPB put the cost for the plan at an extra €5.6bn

The VVD has always opposed ‘state creches’ but is in favour of higher child care benefits which would up the childcare budget by €700m.

Loes Ypma, chairwoman of day care umbrella organisation Maatschappelijke Kinderopvang, told the paper parents might have shown more support for two days of free child care, which is in line with the average number of days parents take their children to a crèche.

‘It’s easy to say all children have a right to five days of free day care but that would be too big a step,’ she said. ‘We would rather aim for access for all children for a shorter period so parents can combine care tasks and work more easily.’

Benefits

Free child care should become the norm in the future, Ypma said. ‘It would also put an end to the system of childcare benefits which turned out so disastrously for so many parents,’ she said, referring to the childcare benefits scandal which led to the collapse of the Dutch government in January this year.

Childcare will be on the agenda in the next months as the formation continues. Top of the parents’ wish list are free extra tuition organised by schools themselves (86%) and a limit to the number of pupils per class (91%), the survey showed.

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