Effects of Provision of Universal Childcare Centers
On August 13, 2018 one Will McGrew authored a great article Equitable Blog (owned by Washington Center of Equitable Growth). The article focuses on benefits associated with provision of universal childcare centers by Norwegian government.
In 2002, the Norwegian parliament adopted a law which made available childcare centers to all co-habiting, single and married women in the country. Numerous research have also conducted research which has found out that universal childcare has a positive effect on labor market outcomes and human capital development.
I was impressed to learn that the government can also benefit from investing public resources on construction of childcare centers.
The law which was adopt in Norway provided for: lower fees paid by parents at the public childcare centers; parents who enrolled their children at the centers benefited from subsidies and lastly but importantly the state increased investments in the construction of childcare centers.
What happened as a result?
a) Three women joined employment for every 10 toddlers enrolled at the public childcare centers.
b) One single mother joined the labor market for every 5 toddlers enrolled in childcare centers.
c) The income generated from employment by the mothers increased.
d) There was little impact on the fathers. This may have been due to the fact that mothers are the ones who take care of toddlers as required by the social norms in our society. Globally, it is rare for fathers to drop out of work as a result of receiving a toddler in the family. Even the paternity leave is quite short!
e) Researchers reported that at least 13% of the cost of expanding childcare centers was offset by the resulting booming revenue generated in the form of taxes paid by the mothers who join the labor force.
f) Norway’s tax base expanded as a result of this amble investment.
g) Dramatic improvement in child’s social and cognitive skills as well as on health.
For counties and national government in Kenya what are you waiting for? Go ahead and invest in childcare centers. The benefits are real