Government departments answer questions during Two Sessions

Ke Jiayun
Shanghai officials respond to questions from political advisers on subjects ranging from art education to classes for special children as departments hear queries and suggestions.
Ke Jiayun

Thirty seven city government departments heard questions and suggestions from 311 local political advisers on Thursday afternoon and responded to 223 questions on site, the CPPCC Shanghai Committee said.

One of the most crowded booths was that of the Shanghai Education Commission, where political advisers asked about art education, education for special groups of children, college entrance, nursing services for young children and school admission for migrants' children.

Local CPPCC member Chen Shuangshuang, who is drafting a proposal about enhancing art education in schools, asked the commission about the number of art teachers in the city, their average teaching years and if they were treated equally as those teaching major subjects.

"Schools, parents and students often don't take the art courses such as music and painting very seriously because they are not part of the high school and college entrance exams," Chen told Shanghai Daily. "And as time goes by there are fewer and fewer such classes in schools.

"I believe that art education is closely related to the cultural attainment and courtesy of people in a country. And such education should be given to children when they are young, allowing them to know, recognize and understand the beauty of art."

Maggie Koong, a local political adviser who is from Hong Kong, raised the issue of education for special groups of children, including those with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

According to a commission official, there are regional diagnosis centers where children can be assessed about their condition. Some with minor symptoms can join normal classes in kindergartens or schools, while others with more serious conditions will be sent to special education institutions.

Koong suggested teachers who are trained in related knowledge, education and care skills should be allocated to kindergartens with such children. There should also be other professionals such as speech therapists.

"Many of these children are not born with diseases but their problems start to emerge when they are in kindergarten. Although the kindergartens can still allow them to study there with the other kids, they don't have enough professionals to help these children," Koong said.

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