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China promises to wipe out fee-collecting irregularities at kindergartens

04-22-2011 16:22 BJT

BEIJING, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Kindergartens in China will be prohibited from parents' sponsorship or contribution fees as a precondition to enrollment or collecting extra fees beyond those approved by the government, according to a set of guidelines issued Thursday by several ministry-level departments.

The guidelines were jointly issued by seven ministry-level departments including education, finance and auditing authorities within the central government in a bid to improve the country's preschool education system.

"Administrative regulations for fee-collecting should be put in place and strictly implemented," the document stressed, adding that all fees should be transparent and visible to the public.

Previous figures released by educational experts show that China has about 100 million preschool-aged children and that over half of them will start kindergarten over the next five years.

It was reported last year that parents in major cities often stood in lines for days to get spots for their children at kindergartens. The reports stated that many people had growing concerns over inadequate preschool education.

In last November, the State Council, or China's cabinet, acknowledged that preschools are "the weakest part of our country's education" and mapped out a list of favorable policies to boost their development, particularly in regard to making them safer and increasing enrollment demands.

The government also promised to "encourage both governmental and nongovernmental bodies to provide services for preschools in order to increase resources," according to an annual work report delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao in March.

The central government's 2011 budget will allocate three billion yuan (about 462 million U.S. dollars) to "support the development of rural preschool education in central and western regions and ethnic minority areas".

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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