In 2014, China introduced the “two-child” policy, resulting in a peak of 17.86 million births in 2016, the highest number since 2000. However, the “two-child effect” has diminished significantly, with only 15.23 million births in 2018 and a continuous decrease in subsequent years. In 2022, the number of births fell below 10 million, which means that the birth rate in China has dropped by almost half in six years.
The government’s plan to build a public preschool education system with wide coverage, basic protection, and quality by 2020 has resulted in the construction of new public kindergartens throughout the country. However, due to the decline in births, the situation has changed. A kindergarten in Wuhan, Hubei province, which was previously exclusive to children of employees of large state enterprises, is now enrolling children from the general public.
According to a professor at China’s University of International Business and Economics, the decrease in the number of educational institutions, including kindergartens, primary, and secondary schools, has been going on for some time due to the declining birth rate. In rural areas, schools have merged due to the shrinking population. In an interview with Chinese media, a professor at Beijing Normal University predicted a decline of 30 million in the number of students in compulsory education by around 2035, compared to 140 million in 2020.
The low birth rate has impacted China’s education sector, making kindergarten enrollment difficult and resulting in the shrinkage of educational institutions.
Source: Sputnik News, March 6, 2023