Experts warn that a China-wide rush to build new preschools and kindergartens ahead of an anticipated baby boom may lead to an oversupply of classrooms, Caixin Global reports.
That’s because the 2016 scrapping of China’s one-child policy may have failed to trigger a widely expected wave of childbirths and higher demand for early education. A study conducted last year regarding the government’s plans for educational development over the next several years estimated an extra 11 million pre-school aged students between 2016 and 2022. Such changes would demand 75,000 new kindergartens in addition to the already-operating 223,700 as of 2015.
However, according to childbirth data published on Thursday by the state-administered National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), nationwide childbirths have in fact declined by 680,000 from 2016 to 2017. The figure for annual childbirths now stands at 17.3 million, far below the estimate of 21.95 million childbirths for 2017 made by the National Health and Family Planning Commission following the introduction of the 2-child policy.