More Indonesian mums now turning to daycare

Wed Nov 7, 2012 1:08am EST
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By Andjarsari Paramaditha

JAKARTA (Reuters) - When Aryan Danudara was 6 months old and ended up in hospital because of poor care by the family maid, his parents decided to put him in a daycare centre after he recovered.

"Both my wife's job and mine are very busy. So when he turned eight months old, we decided on sending him to daycare," said Adhi Ferdhya, a 40-year-old media consultant who said that between client visits and business trips, they were often away.

With more and more women going out to work due to rising education and middle-class aspirations, daycare has become essential for residents of urban Jakarta and other parts of Indonesia, the way it has in the rest of the developed world.

But while earlier generations of the Indonesian middle class had the luxury of maids taking care of their children, rising education levels means women who once might have become maids or nannies prefer better jobs such as shopkeepers or factory workers, pushing wages higher.

Aryan, now 6, is still going to daycare on weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The 2 million rupiah monthly fee ($210) covers daily care and three meals a day.

Others find that rising living costs and changing lifestyles make childcare a necessity, despite the still widespread belief that children should be taken care of at home, whether by a nanny, maid, grandparents or other relatives.

According to the Ministry of Education, the number of daycare centers has doubled to 1,000 this year. But with demand rising sharply, this falls far short of the overall need.

Mustika Perwitasari, a 29-year-old mother of two including a newborn, lives with her mother-in-law for convenience but is considering daycare.   Continued...

A child plays with ball at Keenkids daycare in Jakarta August 2, 2012. REUTERS/Beawiharta