The bone of contention: kindergarten

“They sometimes operate with false figures!”

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11.06.2024 20:26

Once again, the NEOS have brought the topic of nursery schools and crèches to the Styrian state parliament - and almost put the responsible education councillor Werner Amon (ÖVP) on the spot. He refers to the many advances, such as the test operation of a Styrian "children's portal".

What is behind this? In future - the aim is for the 2025/26 childcare year - parents will be able to use the portal to find an overview of childcare options in their area and register their girls and boys. It will also show places available at short notice. The test operation has been running since this week and more than 700 of over 1100 facilities in Styria are already on board, emphasized Amon.

No majority for state kindergartens
He had to face - once again - an urgent question from the NEOS on the subject of elementary education. Niko Swatek, chairman of the pink party, criticized the "snail's pace of expansion" of places in Styria, saying that children's education was not given high priority. The fact that only a quarter of Styrian municipalities still only allow both parents to work full-time is a cause for concern.

Swatek suggested the promotion of state kindergartens like those in Vienna or Lower Austria. "Where local provision fails, the state should intervene." Unsurprisingly, however, his proposal did not receive a majority.

Expansion plans

  • According to Provincial Councillor for Education Werner Amon, funding applications were submitted this year and last year for the construction of 115 crèche groups with 1600 places and 96 kindergarten groups with 1900 places. Total funding volume: 26.3 million euros.
  • Another "funding call" was scheduled at short notice from June 24 to 28. In addition to investment costs, funding will also be provided for additional staff.
  • For the coming childcare year 2024/25, 358 new crèche places and 1058 new nursery places have been approved.

"Only bad news"
Prior to this, Swatek had a heated exchange with representatives of the ÖVP. Amon accused the NEOS man of "only spreading bad news" and thus damaging the profession. Many measures have been in place for two years to reverse the trend. Amon later even said that Swatek was operating with false figures in some cases.

ÖVP regional managing director Detlev Eisel-Eiselsberg launched a similar attack: "You interpret every statistic as you please," he said in Swatek's direction.

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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