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More children at kindergartens than ever

By Zou Shuo | | Updated: 2022-04-26 15:24
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Children haul farm produce with small wheelbarrows at a kindergarten in Hefei, Anhui province, as they celebrate the Farmers' Harvest Festival, on Sept 22, 2021. [Photo by Ge Chuanhong/For China Daily]

The number of kindergartens has increased by almost 80 percent in the past decade as central authorities placed greater importance on the development of preschool education, the Ministry of Education said on Tuesday.

There were 295,000 kindergartens last year, up from 128,000 in 2011 and the number of kindergarten pupils has grown by 13.8 million in the past decade to 48 million last year.

Almost 80 percent of the new kindergartens are located in central and western regions, with around 60 percent in rural areas. According to the ministry, these areas were less developed than their eastern counterparts and in greater need of educational resources.

Last year, the enrollment rate for three-year preschool education reached 88.1 percent, an increase of 25.8 percent on 2011.

The number of affordable kindergartens stood at 245,000 last year, some 83 percent of all kindergartens.

The government invested 253.2 billion yuan ($38.8 billion) in preschool education in 2020, up five times on 2010. A total of 75.2 billion yuan in government funds was allocated between 2012 and 2021 to help millions of students with financial difficulties attend kindergarten, particularly orphans and children with disabilities.

The number of full-time kindergarten teachers has also grown by 130 percent over the past decade to 3.5 million last year.

Almost 90 percent have bachelor degrees or higher, a 24 percent increase on 10 years ago.

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