Now Japan has a lot of problems, and problems related to child rearing are also serious. If your child cannot enter a nursery school, someone need to take care of the child at home, then it becomes difficult for the person (mainly the mother) to go out for work. This time, I will explain how to solve such parenting problems by using Community Currency.
Children Cannot Enter Nursery Schools
In current Japan, the problem that “children cannot enter nursery schools” is serious and related news are often reported. Some couples even got divorced so that their children can enter nursery schools easily, which became a social problem. At first, let’s see this problem from 3 points of view; children on nursery school waiting lists, shortage of nursery teachers, increasing number of double-career households.
Children on Nursery School Waiting Lists
First of all, it means the children who satisfy the admission requirements and apply for nursery schools but cannot enter those schools. In other words, all nursery schools in the area are full, and those children have to wait for vacancy at home.
For example, the list below shows the TOP 5 wards in Tokyo with a large proportion of children on nursery schools waiting lists.
No.1 Meguro ward has more than 600 children waiting for nursery schools and the ratio is 12.75%. There are overwhelmingly large number of waiting children in Tokyo Metropolitan area, but same problems occur in local cities, so it can be said that it is Japan’s nationwide problem.
Shortage of Nursery Teachers
Next, let’s see the number of nursery teachers in Japan. The job offer ratio shows whether nursery teachers are in short supply or not.
Job offer ratio means the number of job offers for one person. In 2017, there were 2.76 job openings for one nursery teacher. In other words, 2.76 nursery schools scrambled for a nursery teacher.
The shortage of nursery teachers was reported extensively, and measures were taken such as raising wages of nursery teachers. However, as mentioned above, the job offering ratio still remains high.
Increasing Number of Double-career Households
Lastly, let’s see the increasing number of double-career households. According to the data, households with full-time housewives exceeded 11 million households around 1980, but by 2017, it has decreased by more than 40% to 6.41 million households.
On the other hand, there were 6 million double-career households around 1980, and it has increased to 11.88 million households, which is approximately double in 2017. Both parents are working means it is difficult for them to take care of their children at home. Nowadays, although many companies allow their employees to obtain maternity leave and childcare leave, they cannot take leave for many years.
Therefore, most parents with small children work for short time and take their children to and from nursery schools.
How to Use Community Currency for Parenting Support?
Well, I think you understood the situation that parents in Japan are having hard time due to shortage of nursery school, shortage of nursery teachers, and increasing number of double-career households from the previous section. In order to support and improve this situation, how about introducing Community Currency?
What is Community Currency?
In the first place, a Community Currency (Regional Currency) is the currency that can be used in a specific region/community. For example, there is a Community Currency called LETS, which was created in Vancouver, Canada in 1983. The mechanism and characteristics of LETS are as follows:
- The currency can be issued by the members.
- It can be paid for items that cannot be evaluated by the legal currency.
- Put “＋” LETS in the passbook of the seller, and “-“ LETS in the passbook of the buyer.
As described above, members can issue LETS by themselves and perform transactions freely.
Let’s Use Community Currency for Parenting Support
If you use Community Currency for parenting support, there will be following advantages:
- You can pay Community Currency as a reward.
- The local community will be strengthened.
For example, suppose you have some reason and would like to ask your neighbor to take care of your child. Even if you have good relationship with the neighbor, you would hesitate to ask, and would be worried about what the neighbor thinks about it.
In this case, what if you pay Community Currency in return? The neighbor can buy “other goods or services” by the Community Currency, so it would be easier for you to ask him/her babysitting rather than without compensation. However, if it’s the legal currency, you would hesitate to pay and the neighbor would hesitate to receive, I guess.
If it becomes common that a community member asks others something and pays Community Currency as reward, the local community will be strengthened. For example, somebody else would ask you to take care of their children, or you would ask other things to another member, it would be easier for all community members to ask each other.
Of course, it cannot be the perfect substitute for nursery schools, but it helps to create a community where you can temporary ask someone to take care of your child.
Currently, if your child cannot enter a nursery school, you may hire a babysitter or ask your relatives who live in the neighborhood to take care of your child. Introducing Community Currency will make it easier for you to ask your neighbors for support, like in style of a decade ago. It can also work as means of supporting mothers who have stress with childcare.