Beijing Review

Should the Last Year of Kindergarten Be Included in Compulsory Education?

The Ministry of Education recently responded to a proposal by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference that pre-school education should be included in the nation’s overall compulsory education system. According to the ministry’s reply, this proposal needs further consultations before reaching a final decision, as opinions differ widely across society and there are many difficulties.

While most hold that the last year of kindergarten, or even the entire three years, should fall under the compulsory education system, people believe that this goal can’t be attained overnight, given the unbalanced economic and social development in the country. Furthermore, the fact that more than half of the kindergartens are non-state-run also adds to the complexity of extending compulsory education to the pre-school stage. Nevertheless, it’s urgent to cut kindergarten fees, especially

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