The possible adoption of precautionary measures in kindergartens and nurseries in the fall, if required for reasons of health protection by the corona, threatens to hit the program “Harmonization of family and professional life”, as he warns in an interview with AMPE S. CEO of the Hellenic Society for Local Development and Local Government (EETAA), which implements the program. At the same time, he states that the Ministry of Labor is considering the possibility of expanding the beneficiaries by hosting nurseries and children whose mothers work in the public sector.
As Mr Spyridon explains, the stakeholders are concerned about the operation of kindergartens and daycare centers with almost half of the children in each department to avoid the spread of COVID 19. In order to be able to accommodate all children in the structures, however. , will require about twice the number of rooms and staff, which currently do not exist and consequently there will be a corresponding increase in operating costs, which will be sought in an environment of new economic recession.
He also said that the invitation to participate in the program from the autumn is expected to be issued in June and, unexpectedly, 140,000 – 145,000 children will be able to be accommodated in the structures, while if the mothers working in the Public Sector are finally included in the program, then the number this will increase by about 15,000 children.
The full text of the interview of the CEO of EETAA, Spyros Spyridon at the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency and the journalist Apostolos Michaloudis is as follows:
Question: When will the new invitation for the “Harmonization of Family and Professional Life” program be published, for the period 2020-2021?
Answer: The new invitation is likely to be made public in June. On Wednesday morning, a teleconference was held on this issue with officials of the Ministry of Labor and KEDE and with the participation of the Deputy Minister of Social Affairs, Domna Michailidou. Among other things, the total amount to be allocated was examined. For this program, 280 million euros are expected to be allocated, an amount that was allocated in the current period, of which 60 million euros come from the NSRF, while the remaining 220 million are covered by national resources. We were also concerned about whether female civil servants would eventually be able to send their children to kindergartens, for which Ms Michailidou replied that there is the political will and that a great effort is being made, in the midst of the new fiscal data formed by the health crisis, to achieve this. It was also discussed that the possible development in the next period will force the kindergartens and the KDAP to operate with new rules that will be dictated by the need to protect the health of our children. That is the possibility of hosting about half of the children in each department. We were specifically concerned that double rooms may be needed, as well as the possibility of requiring double operating costs as staff will have to work in two shifts or double. At the moment, however, we are preparing the declaration with the current rules and hopefully, we will not have to change them.
Q: With this budget, how many children will be able to be served?
A: With the guaranteed credits of 280 million rises by about 30 million euros.
Q: Are there infrastructures to serve all children or will some of them be left out of structures?
A: Municipal infrastructure is limited. In order to deal with the problem, incentives are being provided to increase the number of kindergartens where there is a demand, with a program of the Ministry of Labor managed by EETAA, giving up to 150,000 euros in order for municipalities to increase their departments in kindergartens and nurseries. But if there are new restrictions due to the mockery, things are not pleasant at all.
Obviously we will try to manage it with a plan, but the cost is sure to go up a lot.
Q: With today’s budget data, is it possible to cover this additional cost?
A: You realize that we are in a time when the economy is in recession, and unemployment is rising. So as much as we consider the harmonization program to be a top priority, we cannot ignore the great difficulties that may arise. We hope and will work to overcome the problems that may arise and eventually the program will run smoothly.
Q: As you said, the economy is in recession. The main reason for the recession is the reduced tourist flows due to the restrictive measures for the colonist. Has EETAA planned any programs to support local communities?
A: Regardless of the crisis of COVID 19, aiming at strengthening local and regional development, EETAA has prepared a manual that mainly concerns the elected in order to help their work and a more detailed guidance concerning the specialized employees they have as their object. of their work tourism development.
We expect these two “tools” to strengthen the efforts of the Local Government and its role as a promoter of local development in the field of tourism. At the same time, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, we have planned seminars and workshops with all the competent elected officials for tourism issues, as well as the employees who deal with this sector. We hope that the health crisis we are experiencing will be overcome soon so that the above can be implemented in normal conditions.
Q: EETAA implements a program for the organization and operational modernization of the municipalities and regions of the country. What does it include and when is it expected to be implemented?
A: Here it is worth noting that in the difficult period that our country is going through, we have seen something very positive come true, which has to do with the modernization of the state and the service of the citizen. The Ministry of Digital Government has not taken simple steps forward. He has jumped.
In parallel with what is being done at the governmental level, EETAA has undertaken to implement a very important project on behalf of ENPE, KEDE and the Ministry of Interior that concerns the simplification and ultimately the reduction of procedures in the basic functions of Local Government in the areas of social policy, licensing, projects, financial administration, transportation, education, culture, etc.
With the completion of this project, a number of benefits are expected to arise that concern the Municipalities and Regions such as:
Dramatic reduction of bureaucracy, cost savings, reduction of processing time of a series of tasks, more transparency, strengthening of their operational capacity, etc. At the same time, we aspire to the citizens and businesses to now be served electronically in their transactions with Municipalities and Regions, gaining valuable time and facilitating entrepreneurship at a local and regional level.
The project is divided into three phases, has a total completion time of about 10 months from today and the information system that will be created to achieve its goals will be given to the Municipalities and Regions with the parallel training of their staff.
Finally, it is worth mentioning at this point another similar project implemented by the Ministry of Digital Government and EETAA and will facilitate tens of thousands of mothers of young children in the new period.
Its implementation will put an end to the collection by the children’s parents of a series of supporting documents in order to enrol in kindergartens and nurseries. Only one application will be submitted electronically. All other certificates whose collection was tormented by the parents will be obtained electronically by EETAA through an information system connected to the publishing services.
In general, our goal is to contribute as much as possible to the effort that is being made to modernize the Public Administration in the areas that concern us, in order to offer faster, higher quality and lower-cost services to citizens while facilitating entrepreneurship.