The Key to Equality of Opportunity
The Free Education Law was expanded to cover three- and four-year-olds not because of a deep understanding of how important it is to invest in early childhood but rather in order to meet the needs of working parents. In fact, the way the law was implemented gives rise to institutional babysitting services rather than quality education. How can one teacher and one assistant, who are responsible for 35 children ages three and four, give each child the attention he or she needs? The positive effects of early childhood programs are a result of quality teaching; babysitting is not enough.
Expanding the childcare programs from birth to nursery school and improving daycare centers and nursery schools are a long-term investment for which the State must take responsibility. The State must ensure the equality of opportunities by investing in underprivileged localities, but there are many steps that local governments can take even without funding from the national government.