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Originally posted by voice_cd at 2007-3-19 11:08
China Daily: In a 2005 survey of 2,500 schoolchildren in six cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, it was found that about 66 percent of primary school students and 77 percent of high school stud ...
As a foreigner who came to China to teach middle school, I was horrified at the workload put on Chinese students.
At the school where I was teaching, the children lived on campus and were woken at 6.00 AM to wash and eat, then be out on parade by 7.00 AM for exercises before class. The school day continued until about 5.30 PM when the students could play sport for an hour or so before dinner, then back into the classrooms by 7.00 PM for three hours of supervised study, then off to bed at 10.00 PM with lights out at 11.00 PM.
So these kids were studying more or less 16 hours a day, with about 7 hours for sleeping. Many were falling asleep in the classrooms. Some of the more dedicated students were doing extra classes on the weekends as well.
The thing I came to understand was that there is a momentum in life that starts in primary school and ends in senior school, that decides whether you will be successful or not.
Many of the children I taught came from rural villages and failure meant having to go back to their village to grow rice or be a shop assistant. So the price of failure was very high.
For a lucky few, sucess meant being accepted to study at a major university in Beijing or Shanghai, and a chance for overseas postgraduate studies. Since returning to Australia, I realise that overseas postgraduate studies are, themselves, a ticket out of China.
Study the right course and get top marks and you will be offered permanent residency in the foreign country. This is not so good for China, is it?
So, while the price of success is so high and the price of failure is so high, even if schools say students don't have to study so long or do so much homework, they might still do it anyway.
An Tong Yi
PS: I should point out that Australian high school students mostly start their day around 8.30 AM and are finished school at 3.00 or 3.30 PM, with an hour for lunch. They get about 2-3 hours of homework per day.
[ Last edited by antongyi at 2007-5-16 12:15 PM ]