Chinese gov't to put pre-school education high on its agenda

09:01, November 03, 2010      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (2nd L, front) chats with children at Hufanglu Kindergarten during an inspection over pre-school education in the downtown area of Beijng, capital of China, Nov. 2, 2010. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Tuesday stressed the importance of developing pre-school education during an inspection to two kindergartens in downtown Beijing.

Wen made the field inspection prior to the State Council hosting a conference on pre-school education policy, which had not yet been scheduled.

Wen said, the government should increase investment in pre-school education, and save enough space for kindergartens in urban planning schemes, in a bid to narrow the shortfall of kindergartens.

Wen added that, apart from infrastructures, attention should also be paid to pre-school teachers, including raising their salaries and social status and training more teachers to qualify for the job.

Wen also encouraged private investment in kindergartens, saying public and private kindergartens would have equal access to the same government policies. Wen urged private kindergartens to guarantee teachers' welfare and pensions after retirement.

Soaring kindergarten fees and shrinking access have become top concerns for parents with pre-school children in big cities such as Beijing, as the cities' population growth has outpaced the development of kindergartens.

In Beijing, a city with a population of more than 17 million, the number of kindergartens has dropped from 3,056 in 1996 to the current 1,266, according to the Municipal Commission of Education.

The problem of the shortfall in kindergartens goes back to 2000, when the government reformed the pre-school education sector, requiring many kindergartens to become commercial businesses.


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(Editor:王寒露)

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http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90782/7186167.pdf