It was his first official policy-related site visit since the start of the new year.
"Morning, kids "
"Hello, Mr. President "
Under an initiative roughly translated as, "Changing My Life," President Moon Jae-in visited a public daycare center located in the northern part of Seoul Wednesday morning, meeting with the children, their parents and some of the teachers.
According to the Blue House, national and public daycare centers in Korea are known for their high-quality education at a relatively low price.
It said the purpose of President Moon's special visit was to listen to the needs of parents raising young children who are using such facilities.
During the meeting, the President pledged not only to continue but to increase government support for child-rearing.
He said he will triple the proportion of young children benefiting from public daycare during his time office.
"The government will have to put great efforts into the childcare sector, but the most urgent task is to increase the proportion of children using national and public kindergartens and child care centers. I have set the goal of increasing that proportion to 40 percent during my term."
( , ? , 40% .)
According to the Blue House, that proportion stands at 12.9 percent as of last month.
The Moon administration has added 373 new public daycare centers since its launch, and plans to build an additional 450 more every year.
President Moon stressed that the budget for childcare this year is nearly equal to the country's entire annual budget of the early 1980s. He noted that the government has allocated over 8.1 billion U.S. dollars for childcare alone this year, up more than 216 million dollars from 2017.
The liberal leader also pledged to improve the working environment for daycare teachers as well.
"President Moon emphasized that the reason behind the high quality of national and public daycare centers is the great treatment the teachers receive as well as their job security. He pledged to extend such support to private daycares as well."
President Moon's visit to the daycare was in line with one of his key policy goals of boosting the nation's record low birthrate -- he was showing his support for tackling the high cost of child-rearing and promoting work-life balance for parents.
-reprinted from Airgang