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September 7, 2012

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Local moves on to plug pre-school teacher gap

THE city will allocate additional funds to draw more students to colleges and expand teaching majors to cope with the likely big shortage of pre-school teachers, officials with the Shanghai Education Commission said yesterday.

Shanghai will need at least 11,000 more pre-school teachers and professional babysitters by 2013 amid the upcoming spike in the number of pre-school children, officials said.

The commission estimated that this means the city's pre-school education sector will be at least running short of 15 percent of certified faculty.

The city is accordingly facing a "pressing" shortage of quality staff at pre-school facilities, said Yin Houqing, an official with the commission.

To tackle the problem, the education authority said it would invest more to expand the size of teaching majors at colleges and lure more students. Besides, more money will be spent on developing and improving on-job training courses for pre-school teachers. By 2013, about 500,000 children will need to go to kindergartens and nurseries, nearly 100,000 more than the current number.

Meanwhile, the commission said efforts were also under way to rectify the current loosely regulated pre-school education market.

Pre-school education centers have sprung up in recent years amid a booming market. Many young parents are enthusiastic spenders eager to send their toddlers to exorbitantly priced courses for pre-school training. But the market is barely regulated in the absence of government oversight and has seen scandals such as schools disappearing overnight without paying back tuition to the parents.


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