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China's unique education culture

Popularity 11Viewed 3860 times 2015-7-15 14:48 |Personal category:Education|System category:Life| education

I am not an education specialist to begin with, but i have kids. I understand the need for good teachers and schools. I have not been blessed with the option of going to the best school money can buy, however i have been given the best what my parents can afford.. the local government school for which i am thankful because i met so many friends from all walks of life.

I have had opportunities to explore different range of schools especially across different continents. Since i am little older now, i have friends that have kids too.. and share a lot when it comes to their precious little ones. Some send them to high end boarding schools and some to normal national schools. But the phenomenon here in china is interesting not in the core education but the surrounding activities.

Singaporeans are known to be Kiasu.. its a well known word in South east asia. It actually refers to someone who thinks of themselves first and is always trying to get ahead in one way or another(refer to wikitionary for clearer picture).. That phenom is pretty rampant here in Shanghai.. especially amongst parents.

In my many discussions with my colleagues, counterparts and friends i have made here.. everyone seems to be engrossed in giving their kids the best. I don't blame them.. its their prince or princesses and its never wrong to give them all a good head start. After all, its their one and only due to the one child policy.

But what irks me here is that the extent the parents go to ensure the kids get the best. Agreed that the best school, dress and etc is good or to the best extent what money can afford them. However there is a phenom, an underlying phenom where the parents extend a "helping" hand to the teachers as well.. you can call it anyhow you want..  I take it as a bribe by the parents to ensure their kids get the best attention.. so during Chinese new year and also during other festive seasons.. you can see parents flocking you know where with "gifts". Interesting isn't it? Don't believe ?

So how does this effect your kids ? How does it effect you ? How does this effect your pockets ? And since this is china.. how does this affect your "Face" ?

I've had working parents tell me.. that they are "forced" give gifts so that their kids will not be left behind.. and to make matters worst sometimes in extraordinary manners.. is this worth while ? some do it for the sake of kids getting attention.. and some do it for face.. yes the face saving culture is pretty intense here. "on a side note.. as much as the Chinese say they are different from the Japanese .. when it comes to the face matter.. they are more alike than any other culture" now back to the point...

As an educator/teacher irrespective if you belong to the elite school or the local institutions, i believe you should treat each student as an equal .. maybe i might be an idealist.. but that's how it should be irrespective what "incentives" you get from the parents. is it right for the parents to encourage this ? Should the teachers decline the offers ? Yeah so many questions..but what needs to be done ?

Getting ahead is good.. but is this right ?

This is not criticizing the Chinese education system.. its about the parents working their wonders on the system :) 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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