Pact China’s ef­forts to in­crease birth rate RE CRI­SIS

Global Times US Edition - - EPTH -

take care of their young chil­dren.

For Li Jiangn­ing and his wife, both white col­lar work­ers in Beijing who orig­i­nally hail from He­nan Prov­ince, ask­ing their par­ents to move from He­nan to live in their tiny apart­ment in Beijing just to take care of their baby wasn’t re­al­is­tic. The cou­ple spent a month scour­ing for a proper child­care fa­cil­ity in Beijing, but were ei­ther re­jected by pub­lic kinder­gartens due to be­ing un­der­age or scared off by the hefty prices of pri­vate child­care fa­cil­i­ties. His wife had to re­sign to take care of their baby, ac­cord­ing to news­pa­per Health News.

No depart­ment re­spon­si­ble

Apart from the strict age limit set by pub­lic kinder­gartens, the lack of pri­vate play­ers in the child­care mar­ket is an­other is­sue that has caused the child­care short­age.

Lu, a re­tired prin­ci­pal at a Shang­hai kin­der­garten, was frus­trated by the com­plex and lengthy bu­reau­cratic pro­ce­dures she had to go through in or­der to open a cer­ti­fied child­care school with a pri­vate ed­u­ca­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Af­ter her ap­pli­ca­tion to lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties for a li­cense re­ceived no re­sponse, she then ap­plied through the Women’s Fed­er­a­tion and the fam­ily plan­ning com­mis­sion of Shang­hai, both of which told her they “had no right” to ap­prove the ap­pli­ca­tion.

“No depart­ment can is­sue the li­cense. No depart­ment is re­spon­si­ble for the su­per­vi­sion and man­age­ment. I want to open a child­care school, and yet I don’t know which gov­ern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion to go to,” she said af­ter six months of ef­fort landed her right back where she started.

Ac­cord­ing to China’s ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties, preschool ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cially starts at three years of age. The school­ing of 0 to 3 year-olds, there­fore, is “be­yond the rights” of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, which is why they have stopped is­su­ing child­care li­censes.

Child­care fa­cil­i­ties that are un­able to ob­tain li­censes from lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties can only turn to com­merce au­thor­i­ties and ap­ply for “ed­u­ca­tion con­sult­ing” li­censes.

This, how­ever, does not grant them the qual­i­fi­ca­tion to pro­vide meals for chil­dren or of­fer daycare ser­vices. The com­pli­cated progress dis­cour­ages pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tions from set­ting foot in the child­care sec­tor.

In the case of Ctrip, the com­pany ini­tially in­tended to run the daycare cen­ter it­self, in­clud­ing hir­ing its own teach­ers. How­ever, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties said they would have to shut it down due to the lack of qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Ctrip then hired a third-party or­ga­ni­za­tion, claim­ing to have qual­i­fi­ca­tions and claim­ing it was rec­om­mended by the gov­ern­ment, to run

Ed­u­ca­tion doesn’t mat­ter

In the mean­time, some child­care fa­cil­i­ties are be­com­ing no­to­ri­ous for hir­ing un­qual­i­fied if not down­right un­ac­cept­able “teach­ers” due to low monthly salaries and shoddy fa­cil­i­ties.

A search on ma­jor Chi­nese hir­ing web­sites shows that the ma­jor­ity of child­care fa­cil­i­ties only re­quire that their teach­ers are high school grad­u­ates. Some fa fa­cil­i­ties specif­i­cally say in their ad ads that “ed­u­ca­tion doesn’t m mat­ter” for them.

A num­ber of child­care fa fa­cil­i­ties even re­quire that th their teach­ers have only “lower th than high school” ed­u­ca­tional b back­grounds, most likely to min­i­mize the salary they’ll have to pay.

An anony­mous ne­ti­zen w wrote on pop­u­lar Chi­nese qu ques­tion-and-an­swer web­site zh zhihu.com that she was offe fered a monthly salary of only 3, 3,000 yuan when ap­ply­ing for a teach­ing po­si­tion at Ctrip’s d daycare cen­ter. She thought it was too low and re­jected the of­fer.

Yang sug­gests the gov­ern­ment in­clude daycare ser­vices into its de­vel­op­ment plans and clar­ify the ex­act gov­ern­ment body that su­per­vises the area.

Some par­ents are also call­ing for more in-house daycare cen­ters, which used to be a stan­dard ben­e­fit at State-owned en­ter­prises and or­ga­ni­za­tions in China.

Since the 1950s, in or­der to boost pro­duc­tiv­ity and en­cour­age peo­ple to be com­mit­ted to their work, the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment asked com­mu­ni­ties, fac­to­ries and pub­lic or­ga­ni­za­tions to open daycare cen­ters for preschool chil­dren. For many Chi­nese born in the 1970s and 1980s, go­ing to work with their par­ents was a shared mem­ory.

But with the re­form of State-owned en­ter­prises start­ing in the 1990s, these child­care fa­cil­i­ties were steadily shut down.

“Com­pa­nies with ca­pa­bil­i­ties should be given pol­icy sup­port to open in-house child­care fa­cil­i­ties,” Jian Ruiyan, a mem­ber of the Guang­dong com­mit­tee of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence, told Xin­hua.

Pho­tos: VCG, IC

Six chil­dren sit on the ground at an un­li­censed pri­vate nurs­ery in Beijing. In the box: Screen­shot from sur­veil­lance video footage shows a teacher at Ctrip’s daycare cen­ter abus­ing a child.

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