World Bank report: China should fund early childhood development

Source:Global Times Published: 2011-2-23 9:23:00

China's government should include and fund early childhood (ages 1 to 6) development as a basic public service to raise the country's competitiveness, said a joint report by the World Bank and China's top population police agency.

The report, which was issued on Tuesday in Beijing, said that China now faces a heavy task to provide services to the population under the age of six, as the nine-year compulsory education for children ages 7 to 15 years has become universal.

In particular, the report said that China should provide education and other childhood development services for children from poor families, especially those in rural areas.

Although 61 percent of the children under the age of six live in rural areas in China, only 40 percent of them have access to education and other childhood development services, the report found.

World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President Justin Yifu Lin said in a taped video message that early childhood development and education is important for reducing poverty and ensuring the well being of children.

"Early childhood development services are not only a right of the children, but also an investment with a high rate of return on investment from 7 to 18, which exceeds financial investments," Lin said.

Zhao Baige, vice director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said that early childhood development services are important to China's drive to become a country rich in human resources and that the government would continue to work on providing these services.

Some 53 centers for early childhood services have been set up across China, the majority of which are located in the less developed central and western regions.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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