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Preschoolers mistreated 'for fun,' teachers detained (2)

(Shanghai Daily)

10:50, October 26, 2012

The kindergarten was ordered to rectify its practices. "Whether it will be closed down depends on how the rectification goes," the government's statement said.

Administrators of the kindergarten said they just heard about the case and couldn't provide any other details, Taizhou TV reported.

Two other cases of abuse of young children by teachers have come to light this week.

In Shanxi's provincial capital of Taiyuan, a five-year-old girl got dozens of slaps on the face within 10 minutes just because she couldn't add up 10 and one, media reports said. The teacher has been put under a 15-day detention, the preschool was ordered to shut down, and the 40-plus children were sent to other schools. The incidence has triggered an overhaul of preschools in Taiyuan.

A four-year-old boy in Shanxi's neighboring province of Shaanxi was cut on the wrist with a saw as punishment for not performing well when exercising.

Teachers in such cases usually get sacked, but the most severe punishment generally has been a 15-day administrative detention, according to media reports. Internet users said abuse won't be deterred by such light penalties.

"It would leave scars not only in the victims' hearts but also in other children," microblogger Chen Yuhang wrote. He also blamed education authorities for not supervising teachers and kindergartens well.

These scandals expose a lack of supervision and public investment in preschool education.

Government investment in preschool education accounts for just 1.2 percent of its total education expenditures, far less than the average of 6 to 8 percent in developed countries, according to Xinhua news agency.

Kindergartens are not part of China's nine-year compulsory eduction system, which enjoys strong government funding. A shortage of public kindergartens has led to the proliferation of private schools, which often lack the supervision implemented in public schools.

Cost-cutting and financial pressures lead many private kindergartens to pay their teachers less than their public counterparts. An education official in Wenling said private kindergarten teachers earn about 20,000 yuan (US$3,172) annually, just one-third of the average salary for public teachers.

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