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Capital's summer care plan pleases parents

By DU JUAN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-07-19 10:13
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Parents of children attending primary schools in Beijing generally welcomed this month's announcement that schools will offer day care services over the summer vacation, starting Monday.

"I think it's a good idea intended to ease the burden on parents, but I will still choose to take my kid to off-campus educational institutions for English and math courses," said Liu Wenwen, whose son is in grade five.

"Competition is fierce. We need to make the most use of our time during the summer vacation."

The Beijing Municipal Education Commission announced on July 9 that facilities such as library space, study rooms and sports activities will be provided by schools designated by district-level education authorities.

Subjects like Chinese or math should not be taught, it said.

The day care services will help parents who work and have no one at home to take care of their children.

Many parents share Liu's view, but Qin Liang said he would not register his son for day care because children will miss out on the fun of the summer vacation if they return to campus, even if the teaching of regular subjects has been prohibited.

"I have chosen activities like horse-riding and art for my son," he said. "They will be fun and he loves that kind of thing."

Xu Fangyuan said that she feels thankful for the program as she won't have to worry about finding a private institution to take care of her 6-year-old daughter during the vacation.

"I believe schools are safer and that students are more familiar with the teachers and surroundings," she said, adding that the cost of school-based day care was also much lower than at private institutions.

Beijing will offer school-based day care services for primary school students from grades one to five this summer. The commission said that the service will be provided in two 12-day sessions, with the program ending on Aug 20.

"The service is for families that have the need," Ding Dawei, a deputy director at the commission, said on Tuesday. "Schools should not force students to attend, nor persuade them not to attend."

He said each district's education authorities should encourage teachers to volunteer for the program and encourage the participation of experienced teachers.

Ding stressed that the purpose of offering school-based day care during the vacation is not to eliminate vacations, and that the program should not be allowed to interfere with rest and training for teachers.

"Safety is the top priority and campuses should be closed to outsiders," he said.

The commission said that fees can be charged for the service, but that it should be offered free to students facing financial difficulties.

The commission has encouraged a range of institutions, related departments and social organizations to contribute to the program, since the young need support from families, schools and society.

In the past, students attended off-campus educational institutions during the vacation to take educational courses, something now discouraged by the education commission.

Governments in other areas, including the provinces of Jiangsu and Shandong and the municipalities of Shanghai and Chongqing, have announced similar plans for summer vacation day care services.


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