There will be just 10 local crèche places for 18 babies on average next year, according to the results of a survey announced by the Collective Wisdom Policy Centre (CWPC) Thursday.
Using official data provided by the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC) on the number of births in the past three years and information provided by the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) on the number of local crèche places, the think tank estimated that about 4,200 more places are needed in order to satisfy the demand for day care services next year.
Andy Loi Man Keong, who heads the think tank, told a press conference that apart from a 25 percent increase in the number of births last year, the reason the demand for nursery services is so high is due to a lack of planning on the government’s part, such as finding out which neighbourhoods would have a higher demand for such services.
Loi also expressed the think tank’s scepticism about the need of providing half-day crèche services (i.e. in the morning or in the afternoon only) rather than a full day, maintaining that demand for the former is negligible while the demand for the latter is always high.
According to The Macau Post Daily, Loi also suggested that long working hours and few days off are the main factor that crèche workers tend to quit and deter people from entering the field.
He urged the government to give more support, such as subsidies, to attract more crèche staff, arguing that based on the survey, a crèche needs to have at least 17 staff to be fully operational, while the Social Welfare Bureau only provides funding for seven staff. Loi thus called for an increase in the government’s financial support as he believed that the current amount the centres receive is insufficient.
The survey showed that Macau currently have 37 crèches with a total of 5,477 places. However, the Social Welfare Bureau pledged in February that the number of places will be raised to 6,591 by the end of the year.
According to official statistics, Macau recorded 7,315 live births last year, up 25 percent year-on-year.(macaunews)