Several photos showing a kindergarten teacher mistreating some kids aroused fierce anger among the public in China. One of the photos depicts a woman grabbing a boy’s ears, with the child making a pained face. Another photo shows a child whose mouth was apparently taped shut by the teacher.
The woman was later identified as Yan Yanhong, a 20-year-old unlicensed private kindergarten teacher from the city of Wenling (温岭) in Zhejiang Province. Yan was detained (拘捕) by local police after the photos went viral (如同病毒般传播).
Similar scandals have been reported in increasing number in recent years, exposing a lack of supervision (监督) and public investment in preschool education.
China’s government investment in preschool education accounts for just 1.2 percent of its total education expenditures, far less than the average of 6 to 8 percent in developed countries.
Kindergartens are not part of China’s nine-year compulsory education system, which enjoys strong government funding. A shortage of public kindergartens has led to the increase of private schools, which often lack the supervision implemented in public schools.
Cost-cutting and financial pressures lead many private kindergartens to pay their teachers less than their public counterparts. The low pay has had an effect on recruitment, as qualified teachers are reluctant to take private kindergarten jobs. Unlicensed teachers have filled the void (空缺)—only 40 percent of Wenling’s private kindergarten teachers are licensed.
Legal support is also lacking. Under current law, teachers who harm their students cannot technically be charged with abuse. Current laws regarding the protection of minors (未成年人) rely on school administrators and education authorities to punish teachers. However, these laws are not always strongly enforced.
Education authorities have been urged by experts to increase financial investment in the area, expand public kindergartens and support private ones, as well as improve employment conditions for kindergarten teachers.
What can the education authorities do to cope with the problem?
A Expand public kindergartens
B Increase financial investment
C Support private kindergartens
D All of the above