By Wang Wei
A lack of hygiene and safety standards at almost 60 illegal private kindergartens is worrying parents and teachers in Changping district.
The privately run kindergartens in Beiqijia town lack official accreditation from the Changping district commission of education but care for nearly 3,000 children. There are no public kindergartens in the town.
Wang Nan, a staff employee at the residents' committee of Mingjia Garden community, said there are five private kindergartens in her community and all have hygiene problems.
"I have heard from many parents that the kitchens are filthy. Cockroaches hide everywhere and the chef uses the same knife to cut raw and cooked meat," she said. "Parents are afraid their kids will be made ill."
An official from Beiqijia town government surnamed Li told METRO that only six of the area's 63 kindergartens are properly certified.
Beiqijia town has 25,000 residents with 4,000 children in its kindergartens. More than three quarters attend unlicensed schools due to a lack of choice, Li said.
And more than 30 percent of these kindergartens don't comply with hygiene standards, the Beijing News reported yesterday.
A teacher, also surnamed Li, from Heli kindergarten said an aging infrastructure is their biggest problem.
He added part of the kindergarten's cement ceiling had collapsed onto four children having lunch on Sept 27. They were all hospitalized.
Heli kindergarten resides in two residential apartments.
The first two floors belong to the owner of the kindergarten and the third and fourth floors are rented out.
Li said the total area of the kindergarten is less than 500 sq m. This is far less than the required 1,500 sq m of floor space set by the commission of education.
Wang said the situation was a result of very limited educational resources.
In the last 10 years, Beiqijia town has grown from farmland into a dozen new communities, housing thousands of residents.
It witnessed a huge population growth following the installation of the light-rail subway Line 13 in 2003, attracting young couples with its economical property prices.
Wang said that public educational facilities had failed to match the resident's needs.
An official surnamed Jin with the district commission of education told METRO that Changping district intends to build 10 kindergartens in the area. One will be located in Beiqijia town to accommodate 500 children.