Because people failed to do their duty, 4 kids died
this month, four children attending private kindergartens in four cities in North China’s Hebei province died of overheating after they were left behind and locked in their school buses. China Youth Daily comments:
The Hebei provincial education bureau issued an notice on July 14 ordering the local education authorities in the province to strengthen the management of the private kindergartens and check whether they are operating legally.
What the notice requires the local education authorities to do should be a routine practice, rather than a contingency measure that has come at the cost of four lives.
Three of the four kindergartens were unregistered, and all of the four school buses failed to meet the national school bus standards.
But these are contributing factors and should not divert public attention from the direct cause of the tragedies. None of the kids would have died if the school bus drivers and the kindergarten teachers receiving the children in the morning fulfilled his or her duty to count heads. If they had followed the proper working procedure and strictly counted the number of the children handed over, the tragedies would have been avoided.
It is an open secret — even the education authorities do not deny it — that unregistered kindergartens, or “illegal” kindergartens, as the Hebei education bureau called them this time, exist in large numbers, and many substandard school buses transport children between their homes and kindergartens on a daily basis.
These unregistered private kindergartens, which are usually cheaper than registered ones, meet the demands of many families who cannot secure a seat for their children in the registered kindergartens either because they cannot afford it or due to the limited quota.
The four tragedies in Hebei point to not only the lax supervision by the local education authorities, but also lack of affordable and quality kindergartens, especially for the kids of migrant workers and low-income residents. With the changing of the family planning policy to allow all couples to have a second child, the demand for kindergartens is only going to grow.
Registration should not be an obstacle to running a private kindergarten. And all kindergartens should be under effective supervision.