Author: SherrySongSHSF

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

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Post time 2017-12-1 17:59:27 |Display all floors
This post was edited by sfphoto at 2017-12-1 18:00
Jaaja Post time: 2017-12-1 13:08
I agree with that, but many poor who work in big cities are migrants and many of those went to t ...
First of all, this is not about "will benefit" - this system already exists in China. Secondlly, I think the number is much bigger than 1%, simply because such commercial services are only available in areas where there is sufficient market for them. Thirdly, even a low % is a big absolute number in Chinese cities.

Sorry but you're wrong. Here's the stats from the OP:

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.

Besides, when those wealthier middleclass families buy these commercial childcare services, they give employment to number of lower income families, contribute to the society by paying taxes, and hopefully to raising better citizens.

I am not talking about social welfare or safety nets for the poor. I am talking about the middleclass and above to find services that they want.

You fail to address my question - what do you expect the wealthy families to do, when they want better childcare for their children than what the community through nonprofits can offer?

Most middle-class to rich families do not patronize these for-profit childcare services, prefering to hire nannies or bring over their relatives to take care of their children due to the moral obligations imposed by traditional Chinese culture to rear your children, take care of your elders, etc.
What do you expect them, or even the less earning families, to do when (and this is not if) the local community-based social enterprise ends up in some random scandal?

The management of the non-profit social enterprise is accountable to the community which will hold the management liable for the scandal but the management of a Capitalist-funded commercial enterprise is not accountable to the community, only to their Capitalist investors. Does that answer your question?


You work in finance, I recall, and I guess you make more money than the average Chinese do. What if this discussion was not about childcare but care for the elderly. Would you like your career and possible savings to count for better service in your retirement days, or will you satisty to what the average Chinese get?

I don't intend to spend my old age in a retirement home. For most Chinese families, their children or relatives have the MORAL OBLIGATION to take care of their elderly parents in old age as dictated by CONFUCIAN concepts of FILIAL PIETY. I expect the same of my children and relatives in China.

That world is gone. You can only serve a fraction of the population by assuming this as starting point for any system.

What you see in the coastal cities in mainland China is just a mirage because most people living there are transplants, concerned only with making a quick buck. The consumerist culture of Shenzhen is a perfect example of this money-making mentality but the inland provinces is where the world of traditional Chinese Culture is alive and kicking.

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Post time 2017-12-1 21:33:49 |Display all floors
sfphoto Post time: 2017-12-1 17:59
Sorry but you're wrong. Here's the stats from the OP:

Reports have shown that China's enrollment r ...
China's enrollment rate of 0 to 3-year-olds at daycare centers is only 4.1 percent


First of all, I believe that this is the national level ratio. It corresponds with what I argued in my previous post, that (commercial) childcare operators exist where there is sufficient market for them, and that is in bigger cities. If you venture deeper in those statistics, you will find that the ratio of enrollment is much bigger in developed housing neighbourhoods.

Secondly, many families consider sending their children to kindergartens (commercial or not) only after they are over 3 years old.

In OP, this is more accurate quote:

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.


You advocate for publicly funded childcare. But I know, that even in primary school system in China, in many locales children born later in the year are being told to wait until next year before enrolling in first grade - that is because of lack of resources in public schools. I believe that in early education the lack of public resurces is even bigger, because families are expected to take bigger role in early childhood.

Banning private childcare would make the situation double worse - first it puts more pressure on the public providers, and secondly it removes employment and tax revenue brought in from the commercial operators. The state would have to serve even more children with less resources than what it already does (and already fails).

Certainly in a perfect world the state would provide everything that people need, yet nobody would have to work or pay taxes.

I want to again bring in personal perspective. I live in Kunming city in Yunnan, in a complex of high rises that was built less than 10 years ago. There is a private kindergarten just outside, and a public elementary school next to it.

Our kid is not yet kindergarten age, so I am not sure, but I can safely say that there is at least one kindergarten in the neighbourhood that is operated from public funds. And that happens to be a kindergarten reserved for children of city officials, equipped with swimming pools and other amenities.

That demonstrates the reality of state funded childcare in China. The bigger people get more than the small people, even regardless of how much they contribute to the society. In your capitalist system, at least the wealthy would also pay more taxes toward financing the rest of the society.

do not patronize these for-profit childcare services, prefering to hire nannies or bring over their relatives to take care of their children due to the moral obligations imposed by traditional Chinese culture to rear your children, take care of your elders, etc.


Again, that may be true for nurseries for 0-3 years old children, but after 3 years most families (at least in my neighbourhood) start thinking about the social aspect of childhood education, and prefer to send their children to kindergartens where they can interact with other children. China's one/two-child policy has contributed sufficiently to self-centered youth.

The management of the non-profit social enterprise is accountable to the community which will hold the management liable for the scandal but the management of a Capitalist-funded commercial enterprise is not accountable to the community, only to their Capitalist investors. Does that answer your question


No it does not. Can you state for record what that accountability means in practise? Historically in China it has meant bribing city officials to cover up malpractises, and jail complaining individuals for stirring up trouble.

If public service providers were the only option, the people could only hope and trust that the management does the right things. Is that enough? With private service providers, dissatisfied customers can vote with their feet and wallets.

What you see in the coastal cities [...]inland provinces is where the world of traditional Chinese Culture is alive and kicking.


Sorry to disappoint you, but I have never lived in the coastal cities. Inland provinces is where you have the left behind children and broken families. Of this I have personal experience.

And as they say here, the mountains are high and the emperor is far away.

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Post time 2017-12-2 06:04:32 |Display all floors
This post was edited by sfphoto at 2017-12-2 08:00
Jaaja Post time: 2017-12-1 21:33


First of all, I believe that this is the national level ratio. It corresponds with what I argued in my previous post, that (commercial) childcare operators exist where there is sufficient market for them, and that is in bigger cities. If you venture deeper in those statistics, you will find that the ratio of enrollment is much bigger in developed housing neighbourhoods.

Secondly, many families consider sending their children to kindergartens (commercial or not) only after they are over 3 years old.

Of course, that's for the national level. But those stats rebut your premise that most middle-class and rich families in the big cities patronize commercial for-profit childcare centers which is not true.


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.

The above quote from the OP is true which supports my view that the State should fund an INSTITUTIONALIZED form of childcare by allowing community-owned SOCIAL enterprises to provide these SOCIAL welfare services.

You advocate for publicly funded childcare. But I know, that even in primary school system in China, in many locales children born later in the year are being told to wait until next year before enrolling in first grade - that is because of lack of resources in public schools. I believe that in early education the lack of public resurces is even bigger, because families are expected to take bigger role in early childhood.

Correct.


Banning private childcare would make the situation double worse - first it puts more pressure on the public providers, and secondly it removes employment and tax revenue brought in from the commercial operators. The state would have to serve even more children with less resources than what it already does (and already fails).

I don't advocate banning private childcare but the State should promote publicly-funded but community-owned enterprises providing childcare services.



Certainly in a perfect world the state would provide everything that people need, yet nobody would have to work or pay taxes.

Low-income people don't have the means to pay commericial for-profit childcare service providers.


I want to again bring in personal perspective. I live in Kunming city in Yunnan, in a complex of high rises that was built less than 10 years ago. There is a private kindergarten just outside, and a public elementary school next to it.

Our kid is not yet kindergarten age, so I am not sure, but I can safely say that there is at least one kindergarten in the neighbourhood that is operated from public funds. And that happens to be a kindergarten reserved for children of city officials, equipped with swimming pools and other amenities.

That demonstrates the reality of state funded childcare in China. The bigger people get more than the small people, even regardless of how much they contribute to the society. In your capitalist system, at least the wealthy would also pay more taxes toward financing the rest of the society.

That's elitism which I oppose.

Again, that may be true for nurseries for 0-3 years old children, but after 3 years most families (at least in my neighbourhood) start thinking about the social aspect of childhood education, and prefer to send their children to kindergartens where they can interact with other children. China's one/two-child policy has contributed sufficiently to self-centered youth.

Yes, there's a need for childcare services. We agree on that.

No it does not. Can you state for record what that accountability means in practise? Historically in China it has meant bribing city officials to cover up malpractises, and jail complaining individuals for stirring up trouble.

You keep making these strawman arguments. What does "bribing city officials" have to do with covering up malpractices in childcare? I am advocating COMMUNITY-OWNED social enterprises NOT State-owned enterprises. The role of the State is to fund, audit and regulate these social enterprises whose management will be accountable to and held liable for any malpractices by the COMMUNITY. For-profit commercial enterprises will be accountable only to its shareholders who only care about the return on their invested capital as the community won't have control over the management nor would they actively participate in the operation of the for-profit commercial enterprise. This kind of practice is contrary to traditional Chinese Culture.

If public service providers were the only option, the people could only hope and trust that the management does the right things. Is that enough? With private service providers, dissatisfied customers can vote with their feet and wallets.

These are not "public service providers" but social enterprises. Instead of hiring nannies or relatives to do childcare in their homes, groups of families can pool their resources together to form COMMUNITY-OWNED social enterprises to be financed by private donations or State funding. The COMMUNITY as a group of families will have control over the management as they will be able to participate actively in the operation of the enterprise. Think about fundraising events, or birthday parties, or staff volunteers, etc.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I have never lived in the coastal cities. Inland provinces is where you have the left behind children and broken families. Of this I have personal experience.

But I have lived in both coastal cities and inland provinces.

The coastal cities are full of migrant workers who send their hard-earned RMBs back to their rural villages so that their relatives or villagers can take care of their children or elderly parents. That's the MORAL OBLIGATION imposed by Traditional Chinese Culture which is alive and well indeed. But the fact that these migrant workers have to work so far away from their rural villages supports the issue of State-funded but COMMUNITY-owned social enterprise. The rural village could constitute itself into a social enterprise which would receive funding by the State as well as private donations by the migrant workers to provide social welfare services such as childcare, elderlycare, etc. In other words, these unpaid social welfare work in the informal sector of the social economy should be professionalized and institutionalized as part of State-funded but COMMUNITY-run social welfare enterprises.

And as they say here, the mountains are high and the emperor is far away.

Sure, but China has built more than 20,000kms of high-speed rail and more than 1,000,000 4G base-stations in order to bridge the economic disparity between the coastal cities and the inland provinces. I see it myself right here in Chengdu which is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. And the jobs being created here are not sweatshop or smokestack jobs but HIGH-TECH jobs in software, biotech, aviation, semiconductor, auto, internet, e-commerce industries. In fact, the Sichuanese who used to work as migrant workers in the coastal cities are now coming back to their home province while the Fujianese, Zhejiangese and Cantonese enterpreneurs are setting up shop here.

China has done an excellent job of building its infrastructure and developing its manufacturing industries, don't you think so? Now China has to build up its social welfare industries which will create millions of knowledge-based service jobs involving childcare, elderlycare, maternity care, etc.

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Post time 2017-12-2 14:24:55 |Display all floors
sfphoto Post time: 2017-12-2 06:04
Of course, that's for the national level. But those stats rebut your premise that most middle-class ...
rebut your premise that most middle-class and rich families in the big cities patronize commercial for-profit childcare centers which is not true


I never said most families. I only said, that sufficient families do to create a sustainable and profitable market. I argued, that even if it was a very low%, it would still be a high enough absolute number of children in a heavily populated housing district in any big Chinese city (even as remote as Kunming).

I don't advocate banning private childcare


Ok, glad that we figured that out. You came out as advocate of nonprofit childcare so strongly, that it seemed as your only option.

In my opinion, best for the state and the society is that those who are financially capable, use commercial services, and for those who are not, the state funds services through nonprofit services.

Low-income people don't have the means to pay commericial for-profit childcare service providers.


And they will have even less means, if private enterprises don't provide jobs to them, and tax revenues to the state to fund the services for lowest-income families.

For-profit commercial enterprises will be accountable only to its shareholders who only care about the return on their invested capital


That's a very limited view. Yes, commercial enterprises answer to their shareholders, but consumer opinions largely affect the value of those shares, and therefore it is in best interest of the shareholders that the managers of those enterprises consider the best interrest of the consumers. Delopment of RYB Education's share value in NYSE in recent days is a good example.

Of course, such longterm shareholder interests only apply to large enough corporations - not the majority of Chinese establishments that pop up in shopping centers. I would argue that only sufficiently capitalist enterprises start to serve consumer interests. The small ones not so much, and the big ones neither if they are allowed to grow to monopolies.

What does "bribing city officials" have to do with covering up malpractices in childcare? I am advocating COMMUNITY-OWNED social enterprises NOT State-owned enterprises.


First of all, for all intents and purposes state-funding would make them state-owned. Secondly, community ownership does not make anything operated by community. Communities would still have to pick the staff to these establishments, including the managers to run them. You cannot have a few thousand residents all acting as managers of the same enterprise.

The COMMUNITY as a group of families will have control over the management as they will be able to participate actively in the operation of the enterprise. Think about fundraising events, or birthday parties, or staff volunteers, etc.


All of that would be possible with commercial enterprises as well. Arranging fundraisers or birthday parties or having staff volunteer towards the common good will improve the public opinion of the enterprises, and increase share value. What do such events increase if your social enterprises throw such events? Such enterprises wouldn't have so much motivation to do more than the necessary.

What you describe will barely work when "group of families" is dozen or less families. But most real kindergartens have children from hundreds of families, and with every family having the best interest of their own child at stake, their influence towards the management of such establishments is questionable already.

If the management of childcare centers would be solely responsible to the parents (not to shareholders, or the state), you would have a complete chaos in your hands. Commercial services are one option for parents who want that direct control - they can pick a service provider that they want, and if they are not satisfied, they can change to another.

Now China has to build up its social welfare industries which will create millions of knowledge-based service jobs involving childcare, elderlycare, maternity care, etc.


And private enterprises are important component in that. The care industry should be one of the core segments in promoting service sector over manufacturing in China. You need private industries in this area as well, to create jobs and generate tax revenue.

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Post time 2017-12-2 15:46:24 |Display all floors
This post was edited by zhangzhq at 2017-12-2 15:47

yes. I just don't have enough time to care my children!

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Post time 2017-12-2 17:57:08 |Display all floors
This post was edited by sfphoto at 2017-12-2 18:12
Jaaja Post time: 2017-12-2 14:24


I never said most families. I only said, that sufficient families do to create a sustainable and profitable market. I argued, that even if it was a very low%, it would still be a high enough absolute number of children in a heavily populated housing district in any big Chinese city (even as remote as Kunming).

But the market share is still quite low: 4%. And that's true also in the rich, industrialized East Asian societies such as Japan where women are expected to become stay-at-home moms to take care of their kids and elderly parents.


In my opinion, best for the state and the society is that those who are financially capable, use commercial services, and for those who are not, the state funds services through nonprofit services.

My preference is for community-owned social enterprises to be funded by the State but managed by Society as social welfare is a moral obligation of Society in accordance with traditional Chinese Culture.

Low-income people will have even less means, if private enterprises don't provide jobs to them, and tax revenues to the state to fund the services for lowest-income families.

Community-owned social enterprises funded by the State but managed by Society gives low-income people more opportunities to gain employment in social welfare industries such as childcare, elderlycare, etc. even more so than for-profit commercial enterprises because all the revenues generated by the social enterprise gets invested back to the community.
First of all, for all intents and purposes state-funding would make them state-owned. Secondly, community ownership does not make anything operated by community. Communities would still have to pick the staff to these establishments, including the managers to run them. You cannot have a few thousand residents all acting as managers of the same enterprise.

Not exactly. The State can fund or subsidize a community-owned enterprise but still allow the community to manage that enterprise such as the rural TVE (Town and Village Enteprise) in China. Of course, the community would have to hire professional management and technical staff to run the enterprise but the community would also participate in the operations of the enterprise as unpaid volunteers, paid workers, fundraisers, etc.

All of that would be possible with commercial enterprises as well. Arranging fundraisers or birthday parties or having staff volunteer towards the common good will improve the public opinion of the enterprises, and increase share value. What do such events increase if your social enterprises throw such events? Such enterprises wouldn't have so much motivation to do more than the necessary.

The reason why I mentioned social events is because parents, relatives, friends all have an interest in participating in childcare, albeit in a more informal setting. In traditional Chinese Culture, childrearing is considered a moral obligation not a consumer choice.

What you describe will barely work when "group of families" is dozen or less families. But most real kindergartens have children from hundreds of families, and with every family having the best interest of their own child at stake, their influence towards the management of such establishments is questionable already.

These childcare practices already exist involving groups of families living in a housing estate and pooling their resources to use their existing housing units as nurseries.


If the management of childcare centers would be solely responsible to the parents (not to shareholders, or the state), you would have a complete chaos in your hands. Commercial services are one option for parents who want that direct control - they can pick a service provider that they want, and if they are not satisfied, they can change to another.

I am talking about SOCIAL CAPITAL here as it applies to a COMMUNITY bound by a common interest and pursuing a shared goal -- in this case -- childcare services. In my example above, if a group of families living in a housing estate wants to incorporate a non-profit organization to provide childcare services to ALL residents of the housing estate, then that organization would qualify as a community-owned social enterprise which could received funding either by the State or by private donations. They could just rent a few units in the same housing complex and turn them into a childcare center.

And private enterprises are important component in that. The care industry should be one of the core segments in promoting service sector over manufacturing in China. You need private industries in this area as well, to create jobs and generate tax revenue.

Yes. China should promote SOCIAL WELFARE industries as part of the SOCIAL economy to balance CONSUMER industries which are part of the MARKET economy. But I prefer COMMUNITY-OWNED SOCIAL ENTERPRISES because of the SOCIAL nature of their work regardless of the ECONOMIC aspects of their organization.

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Post time 2017-12-2 21:28:26 |Display all floors
sfphoto Post time: 2017-12-2 17:57
But the market share is still quite low: 4%. And that's true also in the rich, industrialized East  ...
social enterprises funded by the State [...] opportunities to gain employment in social welfare industries such as childcare, elderlycare, etc. even more so than for-profit


Perhaps we understand "funded by the State" differently? In my understanding it means, that the running costs, including salaries of the staff, are covered by the state and the consumers get everything "for free".

If state gives money for all that, the state must also get the money from somewhere. Basically you have the state paying expenses of the social enterprises from tax contributions of the whole population. Every taxpayer will therefore be financing the social enterprises, even if they would not themselves be using them. This includes persons who do not have children of their own, and families with children who choose commercial providers for themselves. How is that fair?

But do correct me, if your definition of state-funding is different.

because all the revenues generated by the social enterprise


So again this falls to definition of "state funded". Is state in your system only a non-profit investor, but the social enterprises are free to make profit with that funding (profit that they are then expected to invest to the community)?

hire professional management and technical staff to run the enterprise but the community would also participate in the operations of the enterprise as unpaid volunteers, paid workers, fundraisers, etc.


Care industry, more than any other industry with possible exception of medical serviices, is where you don't want unskilled, unqualified, or unexperienced people working as volunteers or even paid workers. Not in the concrete caring work, not in the backoffice work, barely even cleaning the premises. This is highlighted in the recent case of RYB education, with somebody turning off the surveillance because it made too much noise.

These childcare practices already exist involving groups of families living in a housing estate and pooling their resources to use their existing housing units as nurseries.


Yes, and nothing wrong with that. But they can only handle so many children, and who takes responsibility when something goes wrong? Let's say an untrained mother cooks for the children in private apartment that is not registered or certified to operate a nursery, and there is a gas explosion? Or food poisoning? Or one kid punches another?

childrearing is considered a moral obligation not a consumer choice.


I would argue that increasingly the "moral obligation" is moving from raising your child yourself, to obligation to provide best possible (in this case early) education forthe childr. If that (for any reason) means finding outside service provider, then so be it. Every parent is naturally the best parent for their own child, but it is not always in best interest of a child to let the parents do everything.

This is perhaps best reflected in what I guess is the most popular form of commercial early childhood education in China for children in 3+ age groups (perhaps even younger) - and that is to provide the service (partly or in whole) in English. You should agree that most parents in China are not qualified English teachers, or even speakers at all.

I doubt, that your social enterprises funded by state will start to offer childcare services in English. You therefore have market for commercial providers.

f a group of families living in a housing estate wants to incorporate a non-profit organization to provide childcare services to ALL residents of the housing estate


Fine, but similarly a group of families could incorporate a commerial operation and market the service to all residents of the housing estate and beyond. In case of funding from state, the state can of course implement whatever requirements it wants, but the usage of that funding should be regulated and supervised, and still malpractises will not be infrequent.

Those may be as simple as the staff using their work phones for private use, but malpractises regardless. Average resident in a Chinese real estate development (or in any country for that matter) is not qualified to manage those responsibilities.

China should promote SOCIAL WELFARE industries as part of the SOCIAL economy to balance CONSUMER industries which are part of the MARKET economy. But I prefer COMMUNITY-OWNED SOCIAL ENTERPRISES because of the SOCIAL nature of their work regardless of the ECONOMIC aspects of their organization.


Whatever, but you come as someone who thinks the state has indefinite funds and should provide everything without anyone making profit. Guess what, only profits are taxed in most industries. Without profits, there is no tax revenue at all and only funding that China can direct to childcare is from selling tobacco and gasoline. Ok, that's not all of it, but you get the picture. In any case, there wouldn't be a lot left after providing healthcare for the public and maintaining the military.

Private industry in market economy should come first, and that should create tax revenue to the state that it can then invest in social welfare. Not the other way.

By the way, Chinese state should clean its hands from tobacco and oil, because those are damaging for the public health and the nature, which belongs to the children no matter how they are cared for.

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