Public schools hold sessions for local kids and their parents

Public primary and middle schools in Shanghai began to organize campus visits over the weekend to help children and their parents better understand the schools and future study.

Public primary and middle schools in Shanghai began to organize campus visits over the weekend to help kindergarten children and their parents better understand the schools and future study.

More than 300 children and their relatives attended the “Campus Open Day” at Shanghai Baoshan No.2 Central Primary School, which will admit about 360 first-graders this year.

They watched videos about the school’s basic information and campus life, plus tried the school’s student TV station operation, innovation space, security education facilities and scientific exploration programs.

“There are so many interesting things to do in the primary school,” said Zhang Min, mother of a 6-year-old girl. “It addressed my misunderstanding of today’s schools — I thought that public schools, like those in my childhood, would only offer basic textbook knowledge and lack programs to develop children’s interests and creativity. I’m glad that my daughter will start studying here in September.”

The “Campus Open Day” has become a must in local public schools’ admission processes since 2016, as part of the government’s efforts to ease parents’ obsession for popular private schools.

Public schools are asked to hold campus visits this month, and private ones will organize their events in April.

The schools are only allowed to show off their curricula, faculty quality and educational philosophy and characteristics. They are forbidden from organizing registration, tests or interviews during the “Campus Open Day," nor are they allowed to take in students’ resumes or parents' contact information.

In Shanghai, public primary and junior high schools admit students according to geographic intake areas, while private schools are allowed to pick and choose through interviews on designated dates.

Previously, private schools made the selection before public school registration. The result was that many parents would have their children try their luck in private schools first since even if they failed, it would not affect their registration at public schools.

From last year, the authority changed the rules and asked public and private schools to carry out the admission process at the same time. Therefore, parents have to make the choice between public and private schools at the very beginning.

Last year, local private schools received 19,900 applications, 17,500 less than the previous year.

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