BEIJING — Minister of Education Chen Baosheng on Jan 23 promised to increase public spending and support for preschool education.
The ministry will set a standard for public spending on State-run kindergartens and subsidies for private kindergartens for each child, Chen told a national education conference.
Measures will be adopted to guarantee salaries and benefit for preschool teachers and to increase their professional qualifications, he said.
The government will encourage and support private kindergartens that provide affordable services and spend more money building new kindergartens and expanding existing ones in rural areas, less-developed regions, suburbs and regions where demand increases because of the relaxed birth control policy.
The government will tighten supervision of kindergartens to prevent malpractice, Chen said.
“We will try our best to prevent child abuse in kindergartens. Once discovered, offenders will face severe consequences,” he said.
The country was shocked by two high-profile child abuse cases by preschool teachers last year, one kindergarten under a famous brand in Beijing and a day care center under contract to a leading travel agency in Shanghai, calling attention to shortage of preschool education and qualification of teachers.
A report from the Education Policy Center of Southwest University shows that with China’s implementation of the two-child policy in 2016, the demand for preschool education will see a sharp increase from 2019 and reach its peak in 2021. The report estimates shortfall of 11,000 kindergartens and 3 million kindergarten teachers by then.