Shanghai plans to build 50 kindergartens by year-end to accommodate an expected baby boom this Olympic year, an educational official said on Monday.
About 170,000 babies are expected to be born this year, when the Olympic Games is held in Beijing, according to Xue Mingyang, the municipal educational committee director.
The figure will be higher than the 160,000 newborns last year, which was mainly driven by people's superstitions that babies born in the Chinese Lunar Year of the pig are lucky.
Xue said those born in the 1980-1989 baby boom period have gradually reached child-bearing age, which would also challenge the city's pre-school educational resources and capacity.
In just three years, the number of children between three to six years will reach 470,000, an increase of 57 percent compared to 2006, he predicted.
Most of the planned 50 kindergartens will be built in the suburbs, given to the trend that the mega-city's population is spreading from the downtown to rural regions, according to Xue.
Shanghai, home to 18 million permanent residents, was expected to end a 15 year negative population growth (NPG) of registered residents this year.
The prediction was based on the city's 2007 natural population growth rate of minus 0.01 percent. The rate was minus 0.12 percent in 2006.
The city first reported NPG in 1993.