Be­cause peo­ple failed to do their duty, 4 kids died

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - IN THE FIRST TWO WEEKS of

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.

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