well supported – double win

Due to recent events – my column from June 1, 2017 reloaded.

In May 2017 the first ambassadors’ meeting of the initiative “Ready! Early childhood is crucial.” took place. It has been set up by the Jacobs Foundation, supported by committed individuals from politics, business and society. The goal is to improve the conditions in early childhood. If you now think of Mozart or tiger mothers, I recommend a few economic considerations instead.

Imagine how our children would thrive if everyone had mastered the colloquial language and the rules of social interaction when they entered kindergarten. And what our schools achieve when all children start with the same prerequisites. This is still a social utopia – the reality especially in urban areas is sobering. This is exactly what the “Ready!” campaign wants to change.

Anyone who now objects that the upbringing of children falls into private responsibility and should please be left to the parents, fails to recognize that for some children, parents exclusively are not the most beneficial environment in early childhood. A good crèche can sometimes work wonders in addition. Remo Largo sends his regards. If we do better with the youngest children in the country – yes, by the state – then we all as a society feel better: more stability, less crime, more social security, fewer problem children in the schools.

1 billion more GDP

Economist Ernst Fehr has calculated the return on investment of such an approach. Every franc invested skilfully and early in the child’s welfare will later be repaid twice to eight times. His calculation: better opportunities mean better education, more qualified jobs, higher wages, more tax substrate, fewer transfer payments. Not a bad result in times of a shortage of skilled workers, threatened social services and negative interest rates. In figures: 1 billion francs more GDP – without immigration. That is the principle of qualitative growth.

And what is the National Council doing? It rejects this very initiative by Barbara Schmid-Federer. And then the same National Council speaks 100 million francs to reduce the cost of crèche places. Early childhood environment may become cheaper – but not better.

Column by Esther-Mirjam de Boer in the Handelszeitung of 1 June 2017.

In 2019, the REPUBLIK.ch writes: “It is highly problematic when public money goes to a company like Globegarden, where the profit motive dominates and it is hard to see what the pedagogical concept is,” says Florian Thalmann, an expert on children’s issues at the VPOD union. “The strong growth would probably not have been possible without the federal stimulus program.”

And also the following in “the KITA hypocrisy”: “Taking care of children properly is incredibly expensive work.” (…) “Interpersonal work – nursing, care, education, counseling – is so expensive because it is relationship-based.”