Ongoing Process of the Integration of Kindergarten and Childcare of Korea

Won-young Rhee, Myung-ha Kim
page. 1~20 / 2019 Vol.13 No.2


The integrating effort, which has been tried in Korea, by the governments of four presidents from 1998 to 2017 has been described in this study. The integration of this study means uniting kindergartens and child care centers under one Ministry. The purpose is to clarify what kinds of problems the divided system could cause young children and what has been done. The analysis of documents such as records of the Blue House (president’s office), the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministries, and research articles in terms of integration was applied. Research found that problems of the divided system of kindergarten and child care center in Korea can be placed in three categories – inefficient administration governance, duplicated budget allocation and its inefficiency, and quality difference of early education and care for the same age group. Integration was started first by the Minister of the Ministry of Gender Equality (MOGE), Chi Eun-hee of the Kim Dae-jung government in 2003. The Roh Moo-hyun government moved child care administration from the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) to MOGE in 2004, but the Lee Myung-bak government moved it back to the MOHW in 2008. The MOHW vigorously tried to integrate the two institutes under it as soon as they had it back, but failed. The Ministry of Education (MOE) of the Lee Myung-bak government integrated the two national curriculums and named it NURI Curriculum, which was applied to five-year-olds first in 2012 and then to children of three- and four-year-olds in 2013. At present, children attending either kindergartens or child-care-centers benefit from Local Government Financial Assistance Grants. Lastly, the Park Geun-hye government decided to continue the Lee government’s policies, NURI curriculum, and free education with the Local Government Financial Assistance Grant. In addition to this, her government made an integration agenda in 2014, which consisted of 10 projects. 8 out of 10 projects had been achieved by 2015, and two projects, integrating teacher education and certificate system of both institutes, and uniting two institutes into a Ministry are remain to be achieved.

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