Regulate the market, expand supply, and develop inclusive education——

Help parenting families to solve their worries

  "When do you want a baby", "Who will bring the child at home", "Are you going to have a second child"... Such questions are not unfamiliar to young couples.

  In 2020, China's total fertility rate will drop to 1.49, falling below the internationally recognized warning line of 1.5.

The number of newborns who were born in the same year who had registered for household registration totaled 10.035 million, a decline for five consecutive years.

The fertility policy has been liberalized. Why do so many couples “dare not have children” or “will not have children”?

During the interview, the reporter discovered that unattended infants and young children aged 0-3 are one of the important reasons.

  The "14th Five-Year Plan" and the 2035 long-term goal outline clearly propose the development of an inclusive childcare service system.

Experts said that the improvement of the childcare system for infants and young children under 3 years of age will bring positive help to the implementation of the childbirth policy, the protection of the employment rights of professional women, and the promotion of balanced economic and population development.

  Can't you trust me?

To whom?

  "Who will bring the baby" becomes a problem

  On one side is the busy pace of work, on the other side is the high cost of living. Who will give birth to a baby?

How to bring it?

Some "post-80s" and "post-90s" couples choose to entrust their children to their elders.

  "The child's grandfather is retired, and we are all right at home, so we ask him to help bring the baby." The daughter of Mr. Chen, a resident of Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, is more than 2 years old. The couple is nine to five. The father's support greatly eases the family. pressure.

However, the conflict of educational concepts between the two generations gave Mr. Chen a headache.

  "My father treats his granddaughter so much." Mr. Chen said that grandfather would try his best to satisfy any needs of his granddaughter. Although the young couple understand "inter-generational relatives", they are worried that excessive indulgence is not conducive to the growth of their children.

  Intervention of elders is a common way of childcare in Chinese families. However, with the implementation of policies such as delayed retirement and “full two-child”, the elders may not have retired when their children give birth, or are already old, and traditional care methods are unsustainable. .

Some families where conditions permit hire housekeeping staff to take care of their children's diet and daily life. However, the housekeeping market is a mixed bag, and many parents are still uneasy when they leave their children still learning to speak under the care of strangers.

  At the National Congress of the People's Republic of China this year, the problem of difficult childcare for 0-3 year-old infants and young children has attracted many representatives' attention.

National People’s Congress representative and head of Yucheng No. 2 Middle School in Ya’an City, Sichuan Province, Tuo Qingming, told our reporter that childcare has two meanings: "custodial" and "cultivation", whether it is to put the child in the care of the ancestors, or spend money to hire a housekeeper to take care of it. , Which only meets the basic "custodial" needs.

1,000 days of birth is a critical period for individual physical and mental development, and scientific cultivation methods are particularly important for the growth of children.

  In order to take care of their children, some parents simply quit their jobs and take care of their babies at home.

However, influenced by traditional gender concepts, facing the dilemma of infant and childcare, women often become “full-time mothers” and men are responsible for “making money to support the family”. A series of problems such as job loss.

  "With the increase in the female labor participation rate in my country, professional women need to take care of multiple responsibilities such as housework, childbirth, and child care while undertaking social work. Because there is no one to take care of their children, many women have to stop their employment, which hinders their career development. "Liu Hongyan, deputy director of the China Population and Development Research Center, said in an interview with our reporter that it is difficult for mothers of childbearing age to strike a balance between work and childcare, which has led to the inability to fully release their willingness to bear children.

The number of newborns in China has been declining year after year, which is not unrelated to this, and the task of solving the problem of infant childcare is imminent.

High demand, low supply

  Childcare services can’t keep up

  The development of childcare services in China reached its peak in the 1980s.

Due to the acceleration of the reform and opening-up process, social development has put forward a larger-scale demand for formal employment labor.

In order to support women’s employment, governments at all levels, enterprises, institutions, and neighborhood communities have worked together under the guidance of policies, and nursery schools are gaining momentum.

However, with the development of the market economy, the original welfare childcare system has gradually shrunk.

In January 2016, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council "Decision on Implementing the Comprehensive Two-Child Policy Reform and Improving the Management of Family Planning Services" was issued, and the issue of caring for infants and children under 3 years of age once again aroused public attention.

  What is the supply situation of the existing nursery education market?

Does the quality of childcare meet relevant standards?

Hong Xiumin, director of the Institute of Preschool Education of Beijing Normal University, told reporters that the current domestic nursery education system is still in a state of shortage of resources and in short supply.

The existing childcare institutions have three major problems: uneven quality, generally high fees, and far from home.

  According to the findings of the Hong Xiumin team’s earlier survey on the supply and demand status of infant care services in 13 cities across the country, 68.4% of families have a need for nursery schooling, and the enrollment rate for infants and children under 3 years old is only 5.5%.

In terms of institutional specifications, 17.6% of nursery schools did not meet the “3 square meters outdoor area per capita” standard in the latest revision of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in 2019 in the “Nursery and Kindergarten Architectural Design Code”; 22.2% of nursery schools and 34.2% of nursery schools The maximum class size standards for nursery school classes and 59.1% of nursery school classes do not meet the requirements of the "Standards for Setting up Nursery Institutions (Trial)" issued by the National Health Commission; and 25% of institutions have problems with catering.

  There are few childcare institutions and the market is not standardized. It can be said that it is even more difficult to have a childcare institution in the middle.

"The baby is young and can't express it. We are also worried about the teacher's temperament and patience." Guangzhou Baoma Ms. Xu told reporters the common concern of many parents: Does the child eat well in the nursery?

Is work and rest regular?

Is it good to get along with the teacher and other children?


  Not only do parents have concerns, some childcare institutions also said that they "have a lot of bitterness."

The person in charge of a kindergarten institution in Beijing told reporters that the fees for kindergarten seem to be high, and the daily operating costs such as site rent, utilities, teacher salaries, and logistics expenses can only be basically kept in balance.

Some institutions even failed to make ends meet and eventually went bankrupt at a loss.

  Give guidance and help

  Inclusive education is the direction

  How to help families reduce the burden of care for infants and young children?

In 2019, the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Health Commission issued the “Implementation Plan for the Special Action to Support the Development of Inclusive Childcare Services for Social Forces (Trial)”, proposing to adhere to the socialized development of childcare services, focusing on “government guidance, multi-party participation, social operations, and universal "Benefits are accessible" and in-depth cooperation between cities and enterprises.

The "14th Five-Year Plan" and the 2035 long-term goal outline propose to support 150 cities to use social forces to develop comprehensive nursery service institutions and community nursery service facilities, and to increase more than 500,000 exemplary inclusive nurseries.

  The development of an inclusive childcare system requires the participation of multiple entities such as the government, enterprises and institutions, communities, and families.

In Liu Hongyan's view, government departments should effectively use and fully integrate resources in education, civil affairs, natural resources and other departments to ensure the coordinated advancement of policies of various departments and avoid regulatory gaps caused by policy implementation or departmental coordination issues; secondly, focus on improving childcare Service capacity and quality, including strengthening the policy publicity of the setting standards, evaluation and supervision system of nursery institutions; in addition, strengthening the access management of nursery institutions and speeding up the development of the classification and quality evaluation standards of nursery institutions.

  Some parents are unable to arrange for, dare not send or are unwilling to send.

In this regard, experts suggest encouraging the community to plan reasonably according to actual needs and provide nearby community nursery schools; give full play to the role of trade unions and encourage enterprises and institutions to provide welfare nursery services; support conditional kindergartens to open nursery classes and increase nursery schools under the age of 2 Supply of resources for childcare services; standardize home care points on the basis of ensuring relevant qualifications, and solve the temporary breastfeeding needs of some mothers.

  A few days ago, the National Health Commission issued the "Guideline for Nursery Care Institutions (Trial)", which divided infants and young children into 3 different stages: 7-12 months, 13-24 months, and 25-36 months. In terms of feeding, sleep, life and hygiene habits, movement, language, cognition, emotion and sociality, guide nursery institutions to provide scientific and standardized care services for infants and children under 3 years old.

  As one of the main members of the drafting team of this "Outline", Hong Xiumin believes that ensuring the safety and health of children is the bottom line of nursery institutions. Institutional nurses should have common sense of safety protection, nutritional diet, emergency plans, and disease prevention and control.

On this basis, according to the characteristics and laws of the physical and mental development of children of the three age groups, we will do a good job of scientific conservation at different ages and provide quality services.

"For example, sensitively observe the children's expressions, movements and other signals, and respond in a timely manner based on individual differences to meet the children's physical and psychological needs."

  With the effective control of the epidemic, childcare services in various regions will gradually recover from the second half of 2020, and various preferential policies will be gradually implemented in different regions.

"From the results of field research, some institutions have received financial support from the local government. For example, water, electricity and gas are charged according to civilian price standards; the National Development and Reform Commission provides special funding support for reconstruction and expansion; preferential treatment in land use and house leasing." Liu Hongyan said.

  At present, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and many other places have introduced relevant policies to guide and support social forces to set up childcare institutions through the provision of venues, rent reduction and tax exemption and other methods.

However, there are differences in the economic development of different regions. How can the problem of childcare in poor areas be alleviated?

Li Wei, chairman of the China Development Research Foundation, said that it is possible to consider including infant care services in underdeveloped areas into the basic public service system, play the role of family planning associations, public welfare foundations and other organizations, and explore diversified and full coverage infant care service models .

  The policy "combined boxing" has pointed out the direction of the inclusive childcare system, and the support of the "real money" of government departments is also creating benefits for the rise of the infant childcare market.

According to data from the Department of Population Monitoring and Family Development of the National Health Commission, in 2020, more than 290 cities in 27 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) will participate in the pilot program of inclusive childcare institutions. A subsidy of 10,000 yuan will be given to the nursery, which directly drives an additional 100,000 nursery.

Doing a good job in childcare service "logistics" will promote the implementation of childbirth policies, help gender equality, and promote harmony in family relationships, so that millions of families can truly realize the vision of "dare to give birth" and "be able to raise".

  Liao Ruiling