The on-off topic of kodomo-en, the hybrid daycare-kindergarten facility for children, is back on the charts again. At one point both Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito Party were opposing the bill, but are now supporting Democratic Party of Japan’s proposal. The project requires comprehensive social security and tax system reforms to facilitate the new hybrid system. And to make the transition easy, the welfare ministry plans to help kindergarten teachers get their nursery teacher license by giving them an easier certification exam. The kodomo-en will require for the teachers to have both certificates.
The advantage of facing an easier examination will commence by 2015 and it is hoped that the new day-care support system will start operations by that year. The idea behind the proposal is to increase the number of the new facilities that combine the functions of kindergartens and day care centres and overcome the serious shortage of nurseries.
Sources at the welfare ministry say that only 25% of the nursery and kindergarten teachers are certified for their specific profession. For them to get a teaching certificate, applicants need earn predetermined credits at universities and from other training institutes, or pass the qualifying exams. Essentially the welfare and education ministries are thinking of reducing the number of credits required for a candidate who already possesses either kindergarten or nursery certification and plans on getting the other licence. The welfare ministry also hopes to introduce a separate exam for kindergarten teachers, which is easier than the ones faced by general applicants. As for the nursery teachers, only those with at least three years of experience will be eligible to take the kindergarten teacher’s test.