Expert: Day care needs will expand

Source:China Daily
Updated:2017-11-13 09:16:19

  Educator says input required from various sectors to ensure child safety

  Child abuse that allegedly took place at the in-house day care center of online travel agency Ctrip has continued to ignite public discussion after prosecutors specializing in crimes against children in Shanghai's Changning district took up the case last week.

  Cai Jianguo, a professor at Tongji University, said day care services for children under 3 years old are already far too few to meet demand nationwide, and as China relaxes its family planning policy, allowing all couples to have a second child, the problem will only get worse.

  In Shanghai, for example, a survey by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions found in 2015 that the city had just 35 day care centers, down from 56 in 2011, and that only 5,222 children attended day care, compared with more than 8,000 in 2011. Shanghai has a total of about 800,000 children under 3 years old.

  In the most recent incident, three suspects were detained after video footage showed staff members at the center treating children roughly.

  While many netizens expressed shock and anger, they also raised questions about the shortage of day care facilities and how to ensure that the centers are safe.

  There are no clear regulations on the establishment of day care centers, which are usually set up by local women's federations, family planning authorities or trade union federations. Likewise, supervision is not highly regulated.

  Zhou Qi, vice-president of Ctrip, admitted during an interview with Beijing News on Thursday that problems at the center are common. He said the situation contradicts the company's desire to relieve its employees from worries about their young children.

  Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, said that clear, unified supervision of day care centers requires input from different sectors of society. An accountable authority is necessary to prevent conflict of interest or misconduct that might put the children's wellbeing at risk, Xiong added.

  Tang Xiaotian, deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai Law Society, suggested creating a blacklist for offenders, including individuals and organizations, to prevent corruption or dereliction of duty.

  Xinhua contributed to this story.