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June 16, 2014

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Parents camp out to secure daycare places

PARENTS are calling for more government-run daycare centers, after many resorted to queuing up overnight at the weekend to secure places for their children.

Officials at Pudong Youth and Children’s Center — which had places for 80 children — found more than 100 parents queuing outside at 6:15am on Saturday.

In order to get a place, a dozen parents had camped  out overnight.

Meanwhile, Shimen No.2 Road Neighborhood, located in Jing’an District, filled its 30 places for a daycare class within 30 minutes.

These are among 221 centers included in a government program to address the needs of working parents who can’t be at home to take care of their children during vacations.

Primary school students attending have activities and receive tutoring from volunteers and retired teachers.

These government-run centers offer 16,000 places. However, Shanghai has more than 760,000 primary school students.

“Government centers are popular because their fees are much cheaper than commercial institutes,” said Chen Lijun, an official with the Shanghai Youth Committee.

Government daycare centers charge up to 600 yuan (US$96) a month, while commercial centers want at least 3,000 yuan a month, said Chen.

Chen said the committee was aware of the shortage of places but that it will take time to tackle the problem.


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