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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Kindergarten shutdown spotlights migrants' woes

By Yang Jian and Liang Yiwen (Shanghai Daily)

16:56, February 23, 2012

Migrant workers sending their children to an unlicensed kindergarten in a suburban area this week found the gate had been locked by the town government and the boss had run away overnight.

In Jiuting Town, Songjiang District, thousands of children of migrant workers are attending unlicensed kindergartens, an educational official of the town said yesterday.

The town government on Monday closed down the Sunny Bilingual Kindergarten, which consisted of a three-room apartment in a migrant workers' dormitory where several unlicensed "teachers" who could not speak a foreign language took care of more than 20 children of migrant workers.

Tao Liangzhou, the kindergarten boss who is also a migrant worker, ran away with money after the crackdown and local police are hunting for him, said the town's educational department director, surnamed Xing.

"I told Tao I was just a farmer and could not speak English, but the boss said I just needed to look after the children," said a teacher for 18 children surnamed Li. Tao paid her 1,500 yuan (US$238) per month.

The parents complained to the township government for the sudden crackdown that left their children with no place to go and their tuition fees wasted. Tuition for the illegal kindergarten was 550 yuan per month.

Xing said officials had sent notices several times to the parents since late last year, exhorting them to stop sending their children to the illegal kindergarten, but the parents ignored the warnings.

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