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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Kindergarten fee crackdown as lack of places puts pressure on parents

By Mo Ting (Global Times)

08:45, January 05, 2012

China's top economic planner said yesterday that the government will ban the unauthorized collection of kindergarten fees in its latest bid to crack down on the excessive cost of preschool education.

Kindergartens are prohibited from collecting sponsorship money, contribution fees, school building fees, compensation fees for educational costs or any other fees from parents as a precondition for their child's enrollment, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) website.

They are also forbidden from collecting extra fees in the name of organizing interest groups, workshops, special training programs or parent-student groups, according to the statement.

Any fees charged by kindergartens apart from those for education, child care and accommodation should be voluntary and made public, it said.

Zhang Shuangfeng, a toddler's father in Beijing's Shijingshan district, is looking for a suitable kindergarten for his daughter. There was only one public kindergarten in his area, but there were also several private kindergartens.

"The public kindergarten was heavily oversubscribed, so I have to consider the more expensive private ones for my child," Zhang said.

Zhang said some kindergartens would collect sponsorships and school building fees in return for enrollment. He was also told he might be required to attend a parent-student group before he enrolled his child.

"I don't want to attend such activities," Zhang said, "I hope the new regulation will eradicate unauthorized fees."

Preschool education was not included in China's nine-year compulsory education system. Public kindergartens receive a government subsidy while private kindergartens collect sponsorship to cover running costs.

Statistics show that preschool education expenditure in China was just 1.3
percent of the country's total education expenditure. In developed countries that figure is 3 percent, according to the China Youth Daily.

According to a survey the China Youth Daily conducted last year, half of interviewees attributed high fees to the shortage of good public kindergartens.

The NDRC said on its website that it will strengthen investigations into unauthorized fee collection among kindergartens and revoke their licenses as punishment. The public can call 12358 to report kindergartens that violate the rules.

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