Children have lunch on Thursday at a kindergarten affiliated with the Ministry of Commerce. [China Daily/Zou Shuo]
Beijing plans to add more kindergarten slots and strengthen security measures to make sure children can receive an affordable and safe preschool education, officials said on Thursday.
Feng Hongrong, deputy inspector of the Beijing Education Commission, said the city plans to enroll another 30,000 kindergartners through renovating and expanding existing operations, and to support State-owned and private enterprises, institutions, communities and individuals in building of new ones.
The city already added 30,000 new kindergarten slots last year to meet the increasing demand of preschool education with the implementation of the second child policy and more migrant workers coming to the city, he said at a news conference in Beijing.
Beijing has 450,000 kindergarten students, 63 percent of whom attend public kindergartens, he said.
The city has made great efforts to ensure the safety of kindergarten students by making sure the public areas in the facilities are covered by surveillance cameras and that camera footage is guarded and stored for 30 days, Feng said.
At least two kindergarten caretakers should be present at all times with students, he added, noting that educators have worked closely with public security authorities.
Tian Gewen, principal of the Kindergarten of the General Research Institute for Nonferrous Metals in Beijing's Haidian district, said the municipal government has offered 1,000 yuan($149) per month of subsidies for each student and the district government has offered another 500 yuan per month for each student. The students are only required to pay tuition of 900 yuan per month.
Apart from ensuring students get a high-quality education, the subsidies are also used to increase the salaries of teachers and give them better training, she said.
To ensure that more students receive inexpensive yet high-quality preschool education, the school added 270 new kindergarten slots in 2016, she said. It now has 18 classes and more than 540 students.
Children attending public kindergartens or affordable private ones will account for 80 percent of all preschoolers by 2020, according to a directive issued recently by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council.
Affordable, quality preschools will be the priority, the ministry said. Governments at all levels are encouraged to establish public kindergartens, aiming to get about 50 percent of all preschool children into public education by 2020, it said.
Communities, State-owned enterprises and public institutions such as universities are also encouraged to establish their own kindergartens, it said.
Lyu Yugang, director of the ministry's basic education department, said the central government will allocate 16.8 billion yuan to support preschool education.
(Source: China Daily)