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Free Early Childhood Education in Rural China: A Case Study of Ningshan

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The education authority of Ningshan County in China’s Shaanxi Province launched the 3-year free early childhood education (ece) policy in 2011, which includes waiving the tuition fees, enhancing children’s nutrition, and improving the facilities and administration of kindergartens. Such efforts have successfully increased the enrollment rate of ece which grew from 53.75% in 2009 to 92.4% in 2013. In this study, a field investigation of the implementation of the free ece policy in Ningshan County was carried out, and its impacts and implications for authorities to revise the policy were discussed. The authors urge local governments to take into account the local economic and social contexts in the formulation of free ece policies so that the policies in rural China could be feasible and sustainable.

Affiliations: 1: Central China Normal; 2: Central China Normal


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1. General Office of the State Council, 国务院"“Guo wu yuan guan yu dang qian fa zhan xue qian jiao yu de ruo gan yi jian 国务院关于当前发展学前教育的若干意见" Opinions of the State Council on the Development of Early childhood Education” Accessed November 24, 2010
2. Wang Rui王睿 Shan xi ri bao 山西日报 [Shaanxi Daily]"“12nian: yi ge guo ding pin kun xian de mian fei jiao yu12年:一个国定贫困县的免费教育" Twelve Years: the Free Education of a State-Level Impoverished County” 2009 June 10 Accessed November 8, 2013
3. Chang Wan Ke柯昌万 中国教育日报 [China Education Daily]"“Shan xi Ningshan xian jin nian qiu ji kaixue zheng shi shi shi 15 nian mian fei jiao yu 陕西宁陕县今年秋季开学正式实施 15 年免费教育" Launching 15-Year Free Education in Ningshan, Shaanxi” 2011 October 8 Accessed November 8, 2013
4. General Office of the People’s Government of Ningshan, 宁陕县政府办公室"“Ningshan xian xueqian san nian mianfei jiao yu shi shi ban fa宁陕县学前三年免费教育实施办法" Implementation of 3-Year Free Early childhood Education in Ningshan Accessed November 8, 2013
5. Li Hui, Dan Wang"“Understanding the 15-Year Free Education Policies in China: An Online Study of Four Cases”" International Journal of Chinese Education 2014Vol 3 no. 2

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