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Preschool Sector Struggles over Lack of Professional Teaching Staff

China needs more and better-qualified kindergarten teachers, but lack of well-designed courses and college places hinders the sector

By Zhang Qingchen Updated Mar.19

To further develop pre-school education, China needs more and better-qualified kindergarten teachers, Liu Yan, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top advisory body, and a professor at Beijing Normal University, told the Beijing Youth Daily. 
But this will be difficult to achieve in the short term, said fellow CPPCC member Zhu Yongxin. Zhu noted that currently more than 50 percent of kindergarten teachers are educated in secondary vocational schools, but most do not have a teaching qualification. Only 600 fully qualified kindergarten teachers graduate annually from the top six normal universities which specialize in education, and this is far from enough.   

There should be new specialist training schools established to enable a new generation of professional kindergarten teachers. Normal universities should set the curriculum for training in preschool education since low levels of training is one of the main impediments to developing the preschool sector, Liu said.   

At the same time, Liu said, it is necessary to improve the treatment of kindergarten teachers. Public kindergartens should set standards for personnel, and contract workers should receive the same payment as others doing the same work. Local governments should also supervise the treatment of teachers in private kindergartens.   

But Zhu said total dependence on government supervision is unrealistic; instead, there should be an independent management mechanism to evaluate preschool education.