5-day queue for China pre-school

LIMITED SPOTS: Parents and grandparents getting comfortable with camp beds as they queued on Friday to secure places for their children and grandchildren at a Beijing kindergarten.

BEIJING - Parents and grandparents camped outside a kindergarten in Beijing for five days and nights last week, in order to get a place when registration opened on Saturday.

Liu Jipan's granddaughter is two years old and is expected to start kindergarten in September next year. To guarantee a place for her, the 64-year-old retiree slept in a tent for five nights - even though his home is just a five-minute walk away.

Registration began at 9am on Saturday, but Mr Liu arrived at the kindergarten at 8am five days earlier. Even so, there were already 80 people ahead of him in the line. The kindergarten was offering 100 places for the coming semester.

"Luckily, the days were not that cold," Mr Liu said, adding that he came prepared with a thick blanket.

More than 100 parents and grandparents queued up for places at the kindergarten.

"This is our first choice because it is in our residential block. It is very convenient to pick the girl up and drop her off at school," Mr Liu said.

"I don't really know the quality of this kindergarten. But if many people were lining up for it, it might be good," he said.