At least ten multipurpose childcare centres will be created by the end of 2024 to provide affordable day care as part of the strategic development of the pre-primary education, Deputy Minister of Social Welfare Anastasia Anthousi announced on Wednesday.
Speaking at the high-level launch event of the project aiming to expand pre-primary education, Anthousi said affordable childcare has been a significant challenge for the country, especially for children 0 to 4 years old.
This will be addressed by a new project implemented by the social welfare services in close collaboration with the education ministry.
First, a study will be promoted on the analysis of the existing policy area to identify the strengths, gaps and weaknesses. The study will also analyse good practices from other European countries with suggestions that can be applied in Cyprus.
Through the study, a first-ever comprehensive mapping of the offered pre-primary education and care services in Cyprus will be done taking into account views of both stakeholders and parents, Anthousi said, describing this process as “particularly important”.
Under the project, at least 27 multipurpose childcare centres for children will be established by 2026.
The intermediate target is to create at least 10 such structures by December 2024, with a total budget of €15 million, the deputy minister said.
The state aid scheme is expected to be announced by the end of the year, and will target NGOs and local authorities for the creation of new or the expansion of existing childcare structures.
This, coupled with the recent introduction of the new state funding for the tuition fees of children up to 4 years old will “contribute greatly to the availability of early education and care” Anthousi said.
She added that the deputy ministry of social welfare also granted over €2.8 million to 130 programmes of childcare and child protection centres this year through the established state aid scheme.
The new project is funded through the Recovery and Resilience Fund and Unicef which is implementing the Project in cooperation with the European Commission through the Technical Assistance Facility Programme.