Azerbaijani MPs propose lowering age restrictions for kindergartens
The Committee on Science and Education of the National Assembly [Milli Meclis] of Azerbaijan has proposed allowing one-year-olds in kindergartens.
According to the country’s current education law, children may only attend kindergarten from the age of three.
It costs between 170-300 dollars to send a child to kindergarten in Azerbaijan. State kindergartens are always ‘free’, and are financed from the national budget. However, parents often end up giving a ‘symbolic’ sum of 10-20 dollars. The new state-sponsored option will become available to mothers with toddlers at a younger age.
- Young women will be able to get back to work earlier after childbirth and contribute to family income;
- Children benefit from early socialization.
Kemala Aghazade, a children’s rights activist and the chairman of the Children’s Union of Azerbaijan says that socialisation is important for young children at an early age.
She also says that the new law will benefit single mothers who want to return to work. However, there may be several drawbacks: given that there is no precedent in the country for early childcare, how young children will be treated in such an environment remains to be seen.
Social media users have also responded to the proposed bill:
“It’s risky to let such a young child go to nursery school, I wouldn’t let it happen. You can let them go when they can express themselves, when they can complain and say whether they are being abused by the caretakers.”
“Why is everyone so excited? What can mothers who have no husbands do when they need to work? The state should provide for their needs of course and make sure they can work. In America, nursery schools start from 6 weeks old. And they even end up with better immune systems. I’m not saying that this is that great for children, but I think that people need this.”
“Many of the nurseries are controlled by state servants. This is one way for them to grow their client base!”
“The idea is good, but they won’t take you without money. They should give out one-time handouts to mothers in the amount of 500-700 manat for bribes!”
“I started sending my daughter to nursery when she was two years old, to a private nursery. I think that for working mothers who cannot sit at home for three years and take care of a child, this is good news and an alternative to private day-cares.”
“I think that the main aim of this law is to decrease expenses for maternity leave.”