Play continues at elite unregistered preschool

15:39, January 19, 2010      

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Business continued as usual yesterday at a mini kindergarten inside one of Beijing's diplomatic compounds following newspaper reports that claimed the private facility was unlicensed and illegal.

The claims followed an undercover investigation published in Monday's Beijing Morning Post that said the foreign-owned Qicai kindergarten, was not legally registered and that its rates were exorbitant.

There are branches of the kindergarten in diplomatic residential compounds in Jianguomen and Qijiayuan.

The report said 38 children of diplomatic personnel appeared to have been "tightly-packed in one suite" and "did not have beds to sleep on".

It said parents paid 5,000 yuan a month - almost twice the cost of the best-equipped local kindergartens in the capital.

The Beijing Morning Post claimed the children were being looked after by a staff of several Japanese and one Chinese person without kindergarten teaching credentials.

The owner of the kindergarten, after being told about the undercover report, declined METRO's request for either an interview or a visit to the facility. The kindergarten was not ready to make any kind of response, the owner said, speaking through a Chinese teacher.

Parents and housekeepers yesterday continued sending their children to the kindergarten, which is located in two suites on the first floor of Tower No. 1 inside the Qijiayuan compound. Children appeared happy as they left with parents and nannies at 3 pm.

Sources familiar with the kindergarten, who asked to remain anonymous, told METRO the paper had "failed to get facts straight".

"The reporter even lacks the most basic knowledge. The owner is of Japanese nationality and so are most of the children staying there," said a male employee with the property management company in the compound. "People in Japan don't sleep on beds, but Tatami."

He said some rich Chinese families had been sending children to the kindergarten since last year and some of them may have experienced "cultural shock" that they then reported to the newspaper.

The kindergarten has been operating for years without problems, he said.

"If the foreign parents read it, they may have laughed at it," he said.

Source: China Daily
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