CRI News Report:Baby Boom Puts Pressure on Chinas Kindergartens 简介：Download MP3 Audio 把音频贴到我的博客(Qzone)或BBS 关闭MP3地址:音频页面地址:Baby Boom Puts Pressure on Chinas KindergartensMany young parents in Chine…
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Baby Boom Puts Pressure on China's Kindergartens
Many young parents in Chinese cities are finding it very difficult to secure a spot in kindergarten for their children.
Even as the government takes steps to respond to the shortage of kindergartens, demographers say far-sighted programs are needed in order to cope with predictable changes in the national demographics.
Liao Jibo takes a closer look.
In Beijing, an increase in babies born over the past three years has put increasing pressure on the city's kindergartens.
Zhang Long, father of a one-year-old child in Beijing, talks about his worries.
"Now, kindergartens are over-crowded with little children. Two years from now, when my kid reaches kindergarten age, I'm afraid the situation may become worse."
Xu Changshun, another Beijing resident, has already experienced first-hand the difficulty of finding a kindergarten spot for his 3-year-old.
"It's very hard! We have few choices available. The kindergartens even select applicants through interviews with parents due to lack of kindergarten places."
This frustration is no surprise considering the overall situation in Beijing, the capital's kindergartens today.
Statistics show that more than 450,000 babies were born in Beijing over the past three years. But the city's educational authority only counts about 200,000 kindergarten spaces - that means more than half of Beijing's kindergarten-age kids are unlikely to find a spot unless special measures are taken.
Duan Chengrong, a demographer at Renmin University of China, explains that the shortage of kindergartens is chiefly due to a recent baby boom.
"China has been witnessing a baby boom since 2006. The reason behind this is that more people have reached marriage and child-bearing age over the past several years than before. "
The problem is not limited to Beijing - it's estimated that the total number of babies born in China increased by about 20 million annually over the past four years. Demographers predict that the ongoing baby boom will last for another three to five years.
Figures from the Ministry of Education indicate that China has nearly 140,000 kindergartens across the country. The existing kindergartens can offer places to more than 26 million kids, only half of the total kindergarten-aged children.
Duan Chengrong points out that the kindergarten problem sends a signal to the government that it should draft far-sighted plans to adapt to its changing population.
"If the government had realized there was an upcoming baby boom earlier, it could have taken measures to deal with the lack of kindergartens in advance and wouldn't have been taken aback by this turn of events."
Beijing, a typical city facing this national phenomenon, has vowed to take targeted measures to cope with the problem.
The city's education authority says 120 new government-funded kindergartens will be built in the next three years that will offer kindergarten spots to nearly 40,000 kids. It is also encouraging existing kindergartens to increase enrollments.
Despite these moves, Duan Chengrong says the authorities should begin to think about more far-sighted measures, like bracing primary schools for the future effects of the baby boom.