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Free kindergarten education could be piloted in big cities

(China Daily) Updated: 2017-03-06 07:58

MA GUANGYU, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, recently called for more investment in pre-school education and extending free compulsory education so it includes kindergarten. Guangzhou Daily comments:

Kindergarten is an essential part of a child's education. However, it is not included in the free compulsory education system, and many parents complain kindergartens are expensive and lack proper regulation.

That's why, over the past several years, there have been calls for compulsory education to be extended so it includes the kindergarten period.

The biggest obstacle, of course, is money. Some poor regions can barely support primary and secondary schools, never mind kindergartens.

But it is feasible for more prosperous regions. As early as 2011, the official investment in education per capita in Beijing and Tianjin exceeded 3,000 yuan ($435). That's enough to support kindergarten education as well as primary and secondary education.

Of course, in order to realize this more kindergartens will have to be built, more teaching staff trained, and the law amended. But developed regions such as Beijing and Tianjin could pioneer the move first and see whether the advice proves beneficial in practice.

If yes, the practice could be extended to cover the whole nation. In 2015, the government invested 2.9 trillion yuan in all education, 10.6 percent more than in 2014.

That increased spending trend continued in 2016, and is expected to continue in 2017. The government is also working hard to equalize the distribution of education resources nationwide.

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