image

China education

Inspector to be assigned to every kindergarten in Beijing amid RYB investigation

Municipal authorities launch own safety drive with regular reviews of schools, their teachers’ qualifications and management

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 November, 2017, 2:23pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 November, 2017, 8:35pm

An inspector will be assigned to every kindergarten in Beijing to conduct regular reviews following a public outcry over claims of child abuse at a preschool in the capital that made international headlines last week.

Police have detained a 22-year-old woman teacher at the RYB Education New World kindergarten in Chaoyang district amid an investigation into allegations some pupils were molested, had needle marks on their bodies and were given unspecified pills.

RYB is a US-listed education group with more than 1,800 kindergartens and day care centres across China.

The principal of the kindergarten has been sacked, while a 31-year-old woman was also detained for spreading rumours that a military regiment was involved in the case.

Chinese police detain RYB kindergarten teacher over child abuse claims

The allegations – which follow a series of abuse cases in recent years – have added to worries over children’s safety in schools and prompted China’s cabinet, the State Council, to launch a nationwide inspection campaign on Friday to review kindergartens in the country.

Beijing’s education commission on Sunday said it had launched its own kindergarten checks, with district authorities told to set up files on all preschools in the capital and assign a regular inspector to each one, Xinhua reported.

Local authorities across the city would assess the facilities, safety and hygiene measures, teachers’ qualifications and management of each school and inspectors would be responsible for “supervising the kindergartens and ensuring they were run appropriately”, the report said.

Preschools across China to be inspected after ‘series of child abuse cases’

Meanwhile, the non-government Beijing Preschool Education Society released a statement on Sunday calling on all kindergarten teachers to protect children’s safety, respect their dignity and safeguard their rights.

On social media, many commenters were sceptical about whether more inspections would be effective in tackling the issue.

“I’m worried about whether these inspectors will really do much to put an end to this. Or will they just end up colluding with interest groups and the people in power? asked one commenter on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

“I think this approach will only deal with the issues on the surface, not the underlying problems. Who will makes sure these inspectors are up to scratch?” asked another.

RYB Education, US-listed kindergarten network at the centre of child abuse claims

Others wanted answers on the RYB kindergarten case. Police have yet to publicly clarify what kind of claims they are investigating.

“Can the authorities tell me – what kind of drugs were these kids given? What about the needle marks?” asked one commenter.