Shanghai builds 70 affordable nurseries, exceeds annual target

Yang Meiping
Shanghai has built 70 affordable nurseries this year, above its target of 50, while in the past 3 years, nearly 600 kindergartens have added nursery classes with 14,000 new seats.
Yang Meiping

Shanghai has built 70 affordable nurseries this year, way above its target of 50, an educational official said during a workshop on childcare sector development in the Yangtze River Delta region, which was held at Shanghai Open University over the weekend.

"Shanghai has been trying its best to meet the increasing demand for care services for babies aged 0 to 3," said Wang Shuran, deputy chief of the Shanghai Education Commission's childcare office.

"It has listed building affordable nurseries as one of its annual public welfare programs and each year, we have over-fulfilled the target of 50. Currently, more than 97 percent of subdistricts and towns in the city have been covered with affordable nurseries."

Meanwhile, in the past three years, nearly 600 local kindergartens have added nursery classes with 14,000 new seats. Kindergartens are now hosting more than 90 percent of babies under care services outside of families, according to Wang.

Yang Zhenfeng, deputy director of the commission, told the workshop that Shanghai will add parenting guidance into the government's one-stop governance and service platform, offering guidance and resources for new parents to better take care of their children.

Jia Wei, president of Shanghai Open University, said it has developed a program to train caregivers of young children, covering psychological tests to nutrition knowledge and childcare skills. More than 20,000 caregivers have received the training and passed the assessment.

Notably, all trainees need to take a psychological assessment to show they are suitable to work in the baby-care industry before being admitted into the program.

Jia also said the university will try to promote the training in the Yangtze River Delta region to unify training and assessment of people working in the childcare industry.

Fan Hua, director of the Shanghai Health Commission's population monitoring and family development office, said the city will see the number of births decrease year by year due to the change in population structure, decline in people of childbearing age and low willingness for childbearing.

Fan observed that the number of annual births in Shanghai is predicted to decline to 74,000 in 2030, compared to 116,000 last year.

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