MOE held a press conference in Jinan, Shandong Province [Photo/Wang Zhanbo]
On the morning of November 28, the MOE held a press conference in Jinan, Shandong Province to introduce the Opinions of the CPC Central Committee and State Council on Deepening Reform in Preschool Education. The briefing was hosted by MOE spokesperson Xu Mei and attended by Lv Yugang, Director of the MOE’s Department of Basic Education (DBE), Jiang Jin, Vice Director of DBE, Zhang Zhiyong, Director of Education Department of Shandong Province, Zou Lianke, Director of Education Department of Guizhou Province and Yu Yongping, Professor at Nanjing Normal University and Chairman of China National Society of Early Childhood Education.
Director Lv described the Opinions as a milestone, since it was the first document focusing specifically on early childhood education to be released by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and added that it was one of the key policy documents produced after this year’s National Education Conference. The document was drafted following a thorough and comprehensive analysis of problems in preschool education, building on field investigations jointly conducted by the MOE and eight other departments in 13 provinces and cities across the country and reports prepared by 31 provincial authorities on the development of preschool education at local level. It also drew on researches on preschool education systems and practices in other countries.
The document laid out overall requirements for the reform and development of preschool education and specified measures to be taken in eight areas: planning and distribution of kindergartens, expansion of preschool education resources, long-term funding mechanisms, teaching workforce, supervision systems, regulation of private kindergartens, childcare and teaching quality, and administrative systems.
The document also clearly set out 2020 goals and medium and long-term targets up to 2035. Specifically, by 2020, China will have established a universal, public and quality preschool education system with the gross enrollment rate reaching 85% and the coverage of kindergartens with universal access amounting to 80%. By 2035, preschool education will have been made available to all families, through the establishment of a public system covering both urban and rural areas and rational distribution of quality resources.
Later at the meeting, Zhang and Zou spoke of lessons drawn and practices in place in their home provinces for developing community kindergartens, improving teacher recruitment and compensation mechanism, and expanding universal preschool resources. Professor Yu explained the document from an academic perspective.