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February 28, 2014

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Illegal kindergarten ignores orders to close

AN illegal kindergarten in Xuhui District that was told to shut down by education authorities was operating normally yesterday.

Happy Reggio Emilia School inside a residential complex on Jianguo Road W. did not have a license from either the district’s education bureau or the market watchdog. The school, which primarily targeted expatriate children, has been operating since February.

A Xuhui District government official told Shanghai Daily yesterday that the kindergarten did not have a license to run the school.

Last week, officials from the district’s education bureau and the industrial and commercial administrative bureau held talks with the owners of the kindergarten. “They were told to suspend operation until it obtains a license,” said Chen Yang, an official with the district government.

Chen said a kindergarten needed a license from the education authorities, but if it positioned itself as a training center, then it must get an approval from the district industrial and commercial administrative bureau.

Asked if the kindergarten was shut, Chen said it “should have been.” He said he had no idea what would happen to the students and parents who had paid the tuitions.

A resident of the complex, surnamed Zhou, and a security guard said they saw children and parents entering the kindergarten yesterday.

“I saw many expat children attending the kindergarten. Parents bring them and pick them up every day,” Zhou told Shanghai Daily.

She said the kindergarten opened after the Spring Festival and managed to attract lot of students.

The security guard said the villa, where the kindergarten was located, previously housed the offices of a company.

The view of the kindergarten was now blocked by a new wooden door.

Shanghai Daily visited the premises yesterday afternoon. There were several staff members, including a foreigner.

Allowed inside on the pretext of consultation, this reporter was told application for new students would be accepted after May, but a request for a tour of the premises was turned down.

A woman coming out of the kindergarten claimed it was just a spot for kids living in the complex to play.

The bilingual kindergarten charges 8,900 yuan (US$1,435) per month. Each class has a Chinese and a foreign teacher. The foreign teachers are from the United States and France but it was not known if they had relevant teaching certificates, Xinmin Evening News reported.

A parent said she saw an English poster of enrollment about a month ago but found the school was not registered after calling the Xuhui Education Bureau, the report said.

Online advertisement says the kindergarten caters to children between the ages of 18 months to six years old and has two sections — French and English.

“Both are immersed in the Reggio Emlia approach to early childhood education, which views young children as individuals who are curious about their world and have the potential to learn form all that surrounds them,” the advertisement reads. “The teachers employ strategies that expose children to a wide variety of educational opportunities that encourage self-expression, communication, logical thinking and problem solving,” it claimed.


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