The objective of this research is to understand the preconditions and difficulties for implementing free early childhood education in rural China. A case study of City D was conducted in Shandong province. City D announced the 3-year free kindergarten education policy in 2009, but only District H had successfully launched it in public kindergartens in the rural areas by 2012. Although the policy was welcomed by families in rural area, the implementation was difficult to both the district governments and the local kindergartens. The major difficulties encountered in the process of implementing this policy included the lack of funding support, the absence of supporting policy and assurance measures, and the discrimination against migrant children from rural areas. To solve the problems, this study suggests a multiple-stage method for developing a practical and continuous model and the funding responsibility moving from district and county government to those of the upper levels.
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