China will ramp up investment into the nursery care sector to ease the tight supply at the moment, an official from the National Health Commission said on Wednesday.
Yang Wenzhuang, head of the commission's population surveillance and family development department, said that there are about 42 million toddlers aged 3 and under across the country, and one-third of them need nursery care services.
"However, the current capacity can only meet the needs of about 5.5 percent of them, so there is a large gap between demand and supply," he said during a news conference.
To address the issue, China has issued several guidelines since 2019, and aims to increase the number of nursery care slots per 1,000 people from 1.8 to 4.5 by the end of 2025, he said.
As of June 30, more than 4,000 new nursery care institutions had registered with authorities and more than 10,000 facilities are now filing applications, which indicates signs of progress, he added.
Yang said the next step will include launching a targeted campaign aimed at expanding the provision of nursery care services and stepping up infrastructure, while increasing financing devoted to the sector.
In the meantime, the country will encourage employers to provide nursery care services at workplaces, and motivate State-owned companies, social organizations and the private sector to join in improving nursery care services.
"We will also cooperate with relevant departments to enhance the education of nursery care workers, and improve related standards and guidelines," he said.