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April 23, 2011

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Kindergartens refuse kids over lack of space

KINDERGARTENS are turning away kids younger than three years old due to lack of space amid the ongoing baby boom, causing problems for parents who work full-time.

Yin Houqing, deputy director of the Shanghai Education Commission, asked local firms and social organizations to set up daycare centers for toddlers as a company or social benefit during a radio program yesterday.

A two-year-old boy's mother surnamed Tang said it was hard to find a kindergarten this year. Some of her friends were able to send their children at age two to kindergarten a few years ago.

"I have to work and my parents look after my son for me," she said. "They are very tired but we still have to wait another year to release the burden on them."

Yin said he understands how parents feel, but added the commission has to first meet the needs of children aged three to six.

"Many companies had daycare centers for their workers in the past," Yin said. He encouraged firms with lots of employees to restore this tradition.

Since 2007, more than 160,000 babies have been born in the city every year, double the previous annual number of newborns.

Currently, kindergartens across the city accommodate about 400,000 kids aged between three and six.

More than 500,000 kids are expected for pre-school education in 2013.

The city has built 400 kindergartens in the past five years. Meanwhile, kindergartens are allowed to enlarge class capacity by 10 percent to admit more pre-school children.

Moreover, the city has approved more private kindergartens to admit 30,000 kids and day care centers to accommodate 20,000 kids.

"The total number of kindergartens and daycare centers can meet the needs in the city if all kids go to nearby kindergartens, Yin said.

"But some parents tend to apply for the best kindergartens, which causes a space shortage in some communities."

In response, Pudong New Area stipulated for the first time this year that only one child per property ownership certificate can be sent to kindergarten within three years.


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