The Chinese government has issued a notice mandating that kindergartens that are affiliated with urban residential communities should be nonprofit and inexpensive. The notice was issued by the General Office of the State Council.
The State Council will also set up a task team together with the Ministry of Education and several other government departments for this purpose. By the end of April, a complete inspection of all community-affiliated kindergartens will be completed. The local education authorities will take over kindergartens by the last week of June 2019.
It is also being reported that the kindergartens will either be made into cheap private preschools or converted into public institutions. By the end of this year, plans related to renovation and expansion of existing kindergartens and setting up of new ones will be completed. By 2020, all related construction work is expected to be finished.
To attract good teachers into kindergartens, the government will pay a reasonable salary together with benefits like housing funds and insurance. Since Chinese families are now allowed to have more than one child, the demand for preschools is only poised to grow rapidly over the next few years.
“The second-child policy implemented in early 2016 has increased competition for good preschool education resources, and the government should increase its investment in the sector,” Luo Xiaolong, a professor at Nanjing University’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, said to China.org.cn.
According to estimates, the children enrolled in public or cheap private preschools will account for 60 percent of all preschool enrollments in the country by 2020. About 200,000 university students are expected to get preschool degrees on an annual basis. This is part of an overall plan to train 1.5 million kindergarten teachers and principals. The government also aims to ensure that all children between 3 and 6 years of age have access to a 3-year education at a good kindergarten by 2035.
All townships and large villages are required to have a minimum of one public preschool. All existing private kindergartens must register with the authorities as either “for profit” or “nonprofit.” The government will provide financial assistance to children from disadvantaged families.
But the government’s move does raise suspicion among many that they are trying to get hold of children’s minds from a young age. By controlling preschool education, the Chinese regime can easily brainwash kids with communist ideology. There is also a problem of funding and quality education. When the government faces a cash crunch, it is possible that they will cut back on the budget for education by hiring low-quality teachers at lower wages. This can diminish the standards of preschool education.
Larger government interference has never fared well in many sectors. Education is no exception.
China is home to a large number of languages and dialects. However, educating children in Mandarin has been a prerogative of the Chinese government. While this is done as a means to create a unified national language, learning Mandarin benefits children in many ways.
For one, Mandarin has been found to help children develop their ability to interpret symbols. This is due to the fact that Mandarin has a large number of visual symbols, unlike English. Since children have to read and interpret all of them, they tend to activate more regions in the brain. When learning English, this advantage is not available since the language is not dependent on visual symbols, but phonetic scripts.
Secondly, as Mandarin writing requires a child to count repeatedly, they tend to be more comfortable dealing with mathematical concepts. Cognitive development also improves. Speakers of Mandarin also use both regions of their brain more often. In contrast, English speakers only often use either their left or right hemispheres at a time.
Chinese kindergartens try to make Mandarin popular with the kids using a variety of techniques, like encouraging them to participate in Chinese music, drama, and speech. Unique games that focus on memorizing texts also come in handy in popularizing Mandarin among the children.