August 30, 2023
BEIJING – Draft specifies that children not to be taught primary school knowledge
China plans to ban kindergartens from teaching primary school knowledge, and the top priority of kindergartens is to ensure students’ safety, a draft law said on Monday.
The draft law on preschool education is being deliberated for the first time at a session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress held from Monday to Friday. It is the first national law on preschool education, and a draft usually becomes a law after being reviewed by the NPC Standing Committee three times.
There should be no enrollment test to get into kindergarten, and other than physical checks, kindergartens are not allowed to organize any tests or checks for students, the draft said.
The main activities for preschool pupils are playing games, and kindergartens should help students form good morality, behavioral habits, safety awareness and a healthy body, the draft said.
Kindergarten pupils should not participate in any competitions not in line with their mental and physical development stage, according to the draft.
Families and kindergartens should properly supervise pupils when they use the internet and control the time they spend on the internet and on electronic devices, it said.
The draft also stipulated that kindergarten teachers must have obtained teaching credentials before they assume their positions, and background and health checks must be conducted before hiring.
Those who have criminal records, or have been dealt with for abuse, sexual assault, violence, a history of drug use, alcoholism, gambling and mental illness cannot work as kindergarten teachers, the draft added.
The draft also asked local governments to open public kindergartens and support private kindergartens to offer affordable preschool education.
Newly established residential communities must be equipped with affiliated public kindergartens, it said.
Social capital is banned from taking a controlling stake in public kindergartens and nonprofit private kindergartens. Kindergartens are not allowed to be listed on the domestic or foreign stock market. Listed companies cannot invest in for-profit private kindergartens or buy assets from them through issuing equity or paying cash, the draft added.
Huai Jinpeng, minister of education, said that although preschool education has developed rapidly in recent years, it is still the weak link in the country’s education system.
It is difficult for some people to get their children enrolled in preschool, and some kindergartens are very expensive, he said, adding that there is still a lack of affordable kindergartens.
According to the Ministry of Education, the gross enrollment rate of kindergartens last year reached 89.7 percent, up by 1.6 percentage points from a year earlier.
The country has 289,200 kindergartens and around 85 percent of them are affordable kindergartens. There were more than 46.2 million kindergarten pupils and 3.24 million kindergarten teachers last year.