Preschools need funding

Updated: 2015-08-10 08:04

(China Daily)

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Preschools need funding

A little kid at a kindergerten in Shanghia. [photo/IC]

A recent statistical bulletin published by the Ministry of Education shows there were 209,900 kindergartens nationwide in 2014, an increase of 11,300 on the previous year, and the gross rate of enrollment among preschool children reached 70.5 percent, an increase of three percentage points.

The tangible increase in both the absolute number of kindergartens and the gross enrollment rate is a reflection of progresses the country has achieved in promoting preschool education.

However, the bulletin also shows that the country's preschool education is excessively dependent on privately-run kindergartens. For example, of the 209,900 kindergartens, 56.6 percent are private, and these accommodate more kids than public ones. This shows greater efforts are needed to increase the fiscal input into public kindergartens and to raise the gross rate of enrollment among preschool children.

In 2010, the State Council, China's Cabinet, urged local governments to launch a three-year action program aimed at promoting the development of preschool education through increased funds.

Increased fiscal inputs from local governments over the past years have to some extent eased the shortage of resources for preschool education and the problem of expensive preschool education. However, the lack of public kindergartens in many regions has failed fundamentally change.

The lack of sufficient fiscal input is to some extent related to the fact that preschool education is not part of compulsory education and thus officials are less motivated to invest in it, given that such investment usually does not benefit the assessment of their performance. All this indicates that the authorities should set a minimal proportion for the fiscal input into preschool education, such as a ratio no lower than 5 percent of the total national educational expenditure, and study the feasibility of including preschool education into the country's compulsory education network.

The above is a China Youth Daily article published on Wednesday.