China considers new laws after RYB kindergarten abuse claims
Authorities are already looking at new legislation after widespread outrage over allegations against Beijing preschool
China will push for legislation to a provide legal guarantees about the operation and management of preschool educational institutions, vice-minister of education Tian Xuejun said on Thursday.
Tian made the remarks at a press conference organised by the State Council Information Office, following abuse allegations against RYB Education New World Kindergarten in Beijing that received widespread attention last week.
Tian said the ministry was already doing research on the legislation.
“The ministry will also complete the requirements on qualifications of teachers engaged in preschool education and is considering formulating a code of ethics for them,” Xinhua quoted Tian as saying.
He also mentioned a plan to step up supervision of kindergartens and solve the problem of insufficient resources for preschool education.
RYB Education Inc said on Wednesday it was aware of more complaints by parents at some of its schools elsewhere in China.
On Tuesday police said they had detained a teacher suspected of using sewing needles to discipline children in the kindergarten in the Chinese capital, although they added that some other claims of child abuse were unfounded.
“RYB is deeply saddened to learn about the latest findings in the follow-up report,” the New York-stock exchange listed company said in a statement after the police report.
Since then, other reports online have detailed similar allegations in the northern province of Hebei close to Beijing.
“The company also understands that there have been additional parent complaints regarding other RYB-branded kindergartens and will continue to cooperate fully with the police and other authorities in this matter,” RYB said.
The authorities in Hebei are investigating an allegation of child abuse and have “temporarily closed” an RYB kindergarten, they said in a statement on their official social media account late on Wednesday.
RYB has more than 1,300 play-and-learn centres and nearly 500 kindergartens in about 300 cities in China. Most are run on a franchise model.
The state-run Xinhua news agency said the authorities in the Chaoyang district of Beijing had also formed an investigation team to look into whether there was any negligence by local education officials.
RYB’s shares fell 8.4 per cent in Wednesday trading in New York, following last Friday’s fall of nearly 40 per cent, although they had recovered some ground earlier this week.