AMONG all the heated issues discussed at the ongoing session of the city's political advisory body, proposals on education are taking up a big share.
The political advisers shed light on many existing educational issues in the city and proposals are being discussed during the third session of the 6th Shenzhen Municipal Committee of the Chinese Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) that opened yesterday and lasts until Saturday.
School bullying, internationalization of high school education, development of special education and school hours for primary school students are the topics to be discussed by the CPPCC members representing different parties and organizations.
In the proposal put forward by the Shenzhen Municipal Committee of Chinese Farmers and Workers Democratic Party, the political advisers stated that the city witnessed constant incidents of students bullying their peers on and off campus in previous years.
A shocking school bullying case happened in December last year when a 12-year-old student, surnamed Liang, was beaten by a group of elder students. Liang was bullied because he had reported those students to teachers for asking for a "protection fee."
Actions should be taken immediately to stop school bullying, suggested the advisers.
The proposal advised an array of governmental departments including the education department, public security bureau and legislation office to work together to prevent such incidents from taking place again.
It particularly highlights the role educational authorities play in enhancing anti-bullying awareness among students, teachers and parents. The advisers suggested that the municipal education bureau organize more anti-bullying campaigns at schools of all kinds.
The other departments should also work together to improve legislation and rules to restrain school bullying, according to the proposal.
Liang Minhua, the deputy head of the Bao'an District Government and member of the Shenzhen Committee of China National Democratic Construction Association, focused on the improvement of the special education system in Shenzhen.
She suggested that more public subsidies should go into the institutions that provide professional training for children with special needs, as well as the families of handicapped children who don't have Shenzhen household registration.
By the end of 2015, Shenzhen had around 45 registered private rehabilitation institutions with less than 1,000 employees working in the field, which was far from satisfying all the needs of the city's special needs children.
Another adviser, Zhong Fanfei, called for primary schools to delay school start time from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. so as to give children more time to sleep in the morning.
Accordingly, under Zhong's suggestion, primary schools should finish at 5:30 p.m., 30 minutes later than the current time because many parents are unable to pick up their children at 5 p.m.
Advisers voice concerns about child care and app-based bikes
MANY political advisers have proposed solutions to some emerging social problems in the city, such as those arising from the two-child policy and the prevalence of app-based bikes.
A political adviser, Zang Chen, submitted a proposal about introducing a new policy to allow "the sharing of maternity leave between parents" in Shenzhen.
Zang said that since the two-child policy took effect a year ago, many new mothers in Shenzhen have felt that they were discriminated against by employers after they were entitled to a longer maternity leave according to government regulations. He believed women shouldn't have to take on all the burdens of child care, and their husbands should share the responsibility.
"In Sweden, husbands can take a 90-day child care leave, which means new fathers can stay at home to take care of their newborns for three months," Zang wrote in his proposal, adding that similar policies were introduced in Germany and Norway as well, which could reduce gender discrimination against women in the workplace.
According to existing laws, new mothers in Guangdong can take between 178 to 223 days of maternity leave. Zang said that the new policy should allow new mothers to take a two-month maternity leave and share the remaining four or five months of child care leave with their husbands.
He said that husbands could take half a month to a month of child care leave when the policy is first introduced, and that the number of days could be gradually increased, but husbands shouldn't be allowed to give away their child care leave to their wives.
Zeng Shaoqiang, another political adviser, voiced concerns about problems following the prevalence of bicycle rental apps in the city. In his proposal, Zeng pointed out four main problems with app-based bikes, including users' random parking, improper use of bikes, operators' poor maintenance of bikes and unfriendly traffic infrastructure for bicycle riders.
"The traffic system in the city should transform from 'automobile-friendly' to 'bicycle-friendly' by increasing the number of dedicated bicycle lanes," he said, adding that the city's transport department and app operators should analyze where and when bicycles are frequently used, and make sure cyclists have the right of way in such areas.
He said that the government should designate parking areas for bicycles on the roadside and near existing and future Metro and bus stations. He said app operators should punish users for random parking, improper use or loss of bikes, and a bicycle user credit system should be set up to keep users' inappropriate behaviors on file.