Similar to nervous teenagers awaiting the smallest glimpse of a loved pop star, Chinese parents show up at the crack of dawn and wait in huddled anticipation at the chance to acquire a place for their child at a public kindergarten. With few spaces and greater numbers of children vying for spots after the baby boom of the 2007 year of the pig and 2008 Olympics, the competition for coveted spots is fierce. However, despite the increasing number of children in need of schooling, the number of public kindergartens has dropped over the last decade from 3,000 in 2001 to 1,200 this year. Increasing demand and even fewer schools means that even expensive private kindergartens require a deposit a year in advance to assure a place for your child.
Parents without a local hukou (residence permit) are faced with an even harder choice when deciding their child’s education: pay RMB 100,000 to study at a public school on a temporary basis or pay for private schooling which can cost RMB 2,500 per month. Every parent wants what is best for their child and actively seeks to give their child as many advantages as possible, which adds to the ruthless battle for the existing spots. As Wang Jiawei told the Global Times, “for many parents, a better kindergarten education is an early start that could help their children to win at the starting line."
To read the Global Times article about the increasing competition for kindergarten spots, check it out here.
Photo from http://special.globaltimes.cn/2010-07/552244_2.html.