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A Program Showcase: Early Childhood in the New China: Suzhou

by Michael Kalinowski
May/June 2010
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/a-program-showcase/5019342/

Suzhou is one hour to the West of Shanghai, and one of China's most interesting cities, famous for its silks, canals, and scholar gardens. According to a popular legend, Marco Polo is reputed to have said, "In heaven there is paradise, and on earth, Hangzhou and Suzhou." As the city rapidly expands, the issue of early childhood education is a serious part of development discussions. As of 2006, there were 380 kindergartens in Suzhou, of which 263 were public (Wang, 2006). Local governments may encourage the development of kindergartens by waiving three years of rent on buildings and land, by holding open auctions, by defining the services to be provided and the costs to parents, and by guaranteeing teachers' salaries and benefits.

According to Zhang (2007), "Personnel wages at kindergartens are covered by mainly two sources: fiscal allocation and care and management fees paid by the parents. Generally speaking, the wages of publicly hired teachers come from the national coffers, while self-hired teachers are paid from care and management fees. Therefore, in the case of the kindergartens in Suzhou, the larger number of publicly hired teachers results in lower care and management fees, and conversely, greater government funding." The pressure on kindergartens ...

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