New laws to improve preschool safety
(China Daily) Updated：2017-12-06
China will push for legislation on preschool education to regulate teacher behavior and standardize the operation of such institutions, Vice-Minister of Education Tian Xuejun said on Thursday.
"We are conducting research to introduce a preschool law, and have started the procedure to push for the legislation," he said during a news conference in Beijing.
He made the remark after a series of abuse scandals in kindergartens across the country that caused great harm to minors' physical and mental health.
"I am deeply saddened about the child abuse cases. Such incidents have exposed some problems, including poor management and loose supervision in the preschool system," he said.
"Speeding up the legislation... will offer a legal guarantee when setting up kindergartens and regulating the management of such institutions," he said.
In one recent case, parents said their children were abused at an RYB Education kindergarten in Chaoyang district in Beijing. Police investigated and accused one female teacher of using sewing needles to "discipline" children who didn't take a nap.
The 22-year-old teacher, surnamed Liu, was detained under criminal law by police and the kindergarten apologized for the incident.
Beijing's education department has ordered tighter management of preschools, especially in improving moral codes of conduct applied to teachers. Three Chaoyang education officers have been investigated for weak supervision of private kindergartens, according to Beijing police.
Tian said the case has exposed the conflict between the public demand for and insufficient development of preschool education.
He said education departments will formulate strong supervision measures and beef up investigations to keep kindergartens operating legally, then improve the quality of instruction.
Zheng Xinjian, director of juvenile prosecution under the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said that to tackle the issue, prosecutors will severely punish those who harm minors' rights and compromise safety at schools or kindergartens.
Prosecutors will be sent to schools and kindergartens to publicize the laws, especially to raise the awareness of teachers and kindergarten managers.