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Should childcare service become a business? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2017-11-27 09:23:46 |Display all floors
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Aseries of shocking revelations of child abuse cases have brought daycare services into the spotlight. For the moment, real and fake information has overlapped, with some evidence coming to light while others undergo investigation. Still, people cannot help but fear for management over staff in the industry.
Perpetrators will be punished once the facts come out. In the meantime, however, reflecting on what is wrong with childcare services has become a pressing task.
Needless to say, today's parents attach greater importance to education for their next generation and do not hesitate to invest in this field. The government's input in this regard, on the other hand, is limited so far.
According to media outlets, national funding for early childhood education in China accounted for only 1.2 to 1.3 percent of its overall educational budget. Meanwhile, the number of children under 6 years old in China has long exceeded 100 million, accounting for about one-fifth of the world's population of the same age. This further reflects the severe shortage of affordable care for toddlers in the country.
Reports have shown that China's enrollment rate of 0 to 3-year-olds at daycare centers is only 4.1 percent, much lower than in developed countries, where it averages 50 percent. In poverty-stricken areas, quite a few teenagers have no access to senior secondary education, let alone early childhood education or nursery services. Since Beijing adopted the two-child policy, China has witnessed a baby boom over the past few years, which further mirrors the scarcity of childcare services in the nation.
On that score, daycare centers and private kindergartens have become the ideal investment targets in pursuit of considerable profits.
RYB Education, a private institution which provides early education and nursery services, has lately become the focal point of Chinese public opinion, being one of the beneficiaries in this market. It started trading on the New York Stock Exchange in September this year, and has raised $102 million by offering 5.5 million shares at $18.50 in the same month, according to nasdaq.com. Its official website says it runs a network of over 1,800 kindergartens and daycare centers in more than 300 Chinese cities.
But education, which should focus on the public good, has in this way turned into an interest-driven enterprise. How does it broaden sources of income and reduce expenditures like other profit-oriented companies?  RYB Education has found a way - by providing franchise opportunities for those who want to start their own business but have no idea where to begin. Another convenient way is to charge higher tuition fees while lowering the salaries of teachers. Combined with loose regulations and management, more and more unqualified personnel are easily employed in this market.
However, a good kindergarten or daycare center is all about good teachers. Increasing the wages of teachers, enhancing assessment over their performance and introducing a strict elimination system to remove those who were last in their performance evaluation are indispensable methods to solve the problem.
More significantly, the government must do more to prevent the childcare industry from turning into a place that purely pursues money rather than the welfare of our next generation.
Childcare services are part of the education system, which should not be overly commercialized. It is not a commodity and should never be treated as one. Even private kindergartens are allowed in the market. Otherwise, the gap between the rich and poor will only get wider and more social chaos and disturbance will emerge.
The author is a reporter with the Global Times. [url=mailtopinion@globaltimes.com.cn]opinion@globaltimes.com.cn[/url]

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Post time 2017-11-28 11:38:18 |Display all floors
This post was edited by Jaaja at 2017-11-28 11:39
Childcare services are part of the education system, which should not be overly commercialized. It is not a commodity and should never be treated as one. Even private kindergartens are allowed in the market. Otherwise, the gap between the rich and poor will only get wider and more social chaos and disturbance will emerge.

There is one perspective which calls for opposite.

In most of these scandals, the problem is with people, and the problem will remain with people regardless of what entity operates the kindergartens - private enterprises or state.

When childcare, which is a very sensitive matter for most families, is in hands of private industry, it puts the pressure away from the government.

If these problems would occur in government-run kindergartens, then the negative feedback would also go towards the government - and everyone knows that the Chinese government is not willing to accept such.

Even in these latest scandals with private kindergarten, government has asked media to tune down reporting and commenting about these issues. Imagine the censorship, if these would occur in fully state-run entities.

Will the Chinese government prefer to have "social chaos and disturbance" towards private industry, or towards itself? The answer is obvious.

The government's role in China will therefore remain to improve regulation and supervision, while  (I believe increasingly) letting private industry handle the day-to-day operations.

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Post time 2017-11-28 14:46:06 |Display all floors
No.

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Post time 2017-11-28 19:48:36 |Display all floors
This post was edited by sfphoto at 2017-11-28 20:50
Jaaja Post time: 2017-11-28 11:38
There is one perspective which calls for opposite.

In most of these scandals, the problem is with  ...

Your last post doesn't make any sense at all. The author was saying that:
More significantly, the government must do more to prevent the childcare industry from turning into a place that purely pursues money rather than the welfare of our next generation.

Capitalist enterprises exist solely to generate profits to their capitalist owners, nothing more and nothing less. But childcare is part of social welfare just like healthcare, elderlycare, etc. which is not compatible with the profit-motive of Capitalist enterprises.
Childcare services are part of the education system, which should not be overly commercialized. It is not a commodity and should never be treated as one. Even private kindergartens are allowed in the market. Otherwise, the gap between the rich and poor will only get wider and more social chaos and disturbance will emerge.

Childcare services are best provided by community-based, non-profit SOCIAL enterprises funded by the State but run by social workers with the requisite education and certified training to handle children of all socio-economic strata living within a community. For low-income families, the State should subsidize their childcare needs through a social credit system.

Children are not objects and childcare is not a commodity but a SOCIAL GOOD that must be funded by the State and provided by SOCIAL enterprises for the benefit of the community.

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Post time 2017-11-28 21:58:02 |Display all floors
sfphoto Post time: 2017-11-28 19:48
Your last post doesn't make any sense at all. The author was saying that:

Capitalist enterprises e ...

The author also stated this: " Even private kindergartens are allowed in the market." - as if this is a bad thing. You seem to agree with that.

The point that I wanted to make, is that these scandals are (most of the time) result of flawed human beings working in them, rather than the nature of the entities running them (capitalist, socialist, or otherwise).

Because I believe the failure comes from indivudual humans, it doesn't matter whether the kindergartens are run by private enterprises or by the state. The state should of course supervise and regulate the industry, so that only qualified nurses and teachers work for them. But that does not mean bad apples cannot find their way to such employment.

But what matters to Chinese state in particular, is that such scandals do not generate criticism directly against the state.

If the kidnergartens in question would have been fully state funded, then cearly state would also bear responsibility. Chinese government is not mature enough to accept that, so they would increase censorship and restrict civil society - they have already tried to do that with these specific kindergarten cases even though they are not funding them.

Childcare services are best provided by community-based, non-profit SOCIAL enterprises funded by the State but run by social workers


That's all fine and dandy, until along come enough famlies with excessive pocket money to demand better services that what the state can provide. Then there is market for private childcare industry, and if there isn't, such will be generated like has been case in China in particular.

This has been goingon  for long time with language training, increasingly with childcare, and eldercare will follow in suit.

Good luck telling families that they cannot buy the prospect of better future for their children or whatever family members an industry serves, and must insted feel satistied with whatever level of service the state can give them.

State funded childcare, and education in general, is a compromise between quality education and education that the state can afford to provide for the whole population.

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Post time 2017-11-29 06:31:53 |Display all floors
This post was edited by sfphoto at 2017-11-29 06:40
Jaaja Post time: 2017-11-28 21:58
The author also stated this: " Even private kindergartens are allowed in the market." - as if this ...

You miss the author's point and my reply entirely.

I agree with you that scandals such as the one mentioned in the OP are not due to whether the enterprise is funded by the State or private Capital but I disagree with you on the nature of such enterprises.

I am advocating NON-PROFIT SOCIAL enterprises funded by the State but owned by COMMUNITIES so that the people themselves can act as stakeholders in these NON-PROFIT SOCIAL enterprises. The level of State funding can vary depending upon the socio-economic status of the communities: the poorer the communities, the higher the level of State funding while the richer the communities, the higher the level of private funding. But these private funds should be considered CHARITABLE contributions not CAPITALIST investments. These NON-PROFIT SOCIAL enterprises may also charge fees for those services which should be subsidized by the State in the form of social credits for low-income communities.

NON-PROFIT SOCIAL enterprises have existed in China throughout its history in the form of FAMILY, CLAN, VILLAGE or RELIGIOUS ASSOCIATIONS which provide SOCIAL goods such as education to communities. These NON-PROFIT SOCIAL enterprises are owned and run by the communities themselves and funded by private donations.

These TRADITIONAL practices have remained the same up to this day. What is needed are MODERN practices which incorporate an INSTITUTIONALIZED version of this informal sector of the SOCIAL economy. That means PROFESSIONAL social workers trained and qualified to run these NON-PROFIT SOCIAL enterprises which should be owned by and accountable to the COMMUNITIES themselves like their traditional counterparts.

Chinese people view SOCIAL WELFARE as part of their SOCIAL economy, as expressed in TRADITIONAL practices based on CONFUCIAN/BUDDHIST notions of HUMANITARIAN ideals and CHARITABLE virtues. China should now MODERNIZE these practices by institutionalizing the organizations providing SOCIAL WELFARE and professionalizing the SOCIAL WORKERS running these NON-PROFIT SOCIAL enterprises.

CAPITALIST-funded enterprises are organized to generate profits to their CAPITALIST owners while SOCIAL enterprises - funded by either the State or private charity but owned by communities -- should be organized as NON-PROFIT organizations providing SOCIAL welfare services to communities.

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Post time 2017-11-29 10:06:14 |Display all floors
sfphoto Post time: 2017-11-29 06:31
You miss the author's point and my reply entirely.

I agree with you that scandals such as the one ...
I am advocating NON-PROFIT SOCIAL enterprises funded by the State but owned by COMMUNITIES so that the people themselves can act as stakeholders in these NON-PROFIT SOCIAL enterprises.


I guess we can just include this discission in the big basket of our different views about pros and cons of capitalism vs socialism.

In my opinion, in any community there is always enough variation in people's socio-economic status so that some individuals will have more than others. And some of those who don't have, will take it from others. This is because people are competitive and capitalist by human nature.

Some personal perspective:; My extended family is from rural Yunnan, and within the same communiity you can see wealthy tobacco farmers, people walking without shoes, and outcast thieves. In my city block in Kunming there are ex-farmers collecting bottles and scrap to sell for food, while other families own multiple apartments and live on the rental income - and me, a foreigner bringing money to the country.

I don't think that the state should even try to balance this out on community-level. What you advocate, may work if they considered each inividual separately and allocated funds accordingly directly to the people. This is how it works in my home country for example. We try to avoid creating ghettos.

But more important than any of that, in my opinion non-profitability that you advocate kills much of creativity and innovation in care industry. No different than in many other sectors.

Capitalism in care industry should be allowed, but regulated (more than in other industries) to assert that when profits increase, so does the quality (or quantity) of services provided.

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