China will quicken the pace of building more public kindergartens and inclusive private kindergartens to ensure that children obtain better and cheaper preschool education, Liu Limin, former vice-minister of education, said on March 10.
About 80 percent of the country’s preschool children are enrolled in kindergartens, up from 51 percent in 2009. The ministry has set the enrollment target at 85 percent and supports the opening of more public and inclusive kindergartens to ease the supply-and-demand conflict, Liu said at a news conference on the sidelines of the two sessions.
“Central and local governments should continue to increase their financial input, build cost-sharing systems and set up fee standards in preschool education,” said Liu, also a national political adviser. More efforts are needed to increase the training of teachers and raise their salaries. Requirements for kindergarten teachers should be raised too, Liu said.
“The country should also accelerate the legislative process in preschool education to clarify the responsibility of different levels of government in developing the sector,” he said.
Supervision in preschool education requires concerted efforts in improving personnel, facilities and technology in kindergartens, while parents should also participate in decision-making at kindergartens through parent committees, he added.
China in recent months has seen exposure of suspected child abuse cases in kindergartens. In one case, a female teacher surnamed Liu from the RYB Education New World Kindergarten in Beijing was arrested in December after the procuratorate accused her of using needles to “discipline” children.