So much to learn so soon

Some training institutions in Shanghai require preschoolers to master a minimum 3,000 Chinese characters, numeracy skills to ensure their admission to elite private primary schools

Some training institutions in Shanghai require preschoolers to master a minimum 3,000 Chinese characters, numeracy skills such as addition and subtraction up to 100, basic conversational English and pinyin to ensure their admission to elite private primary schools, as a recent investigative report by Xinhua News Agency said.

The youngest child studying there was just two and a half years old.

Some training institutions also coach the preschoolers in interview techniques, as many private primary schools’ enrollment presupposes successful interviews. Teachers there would repeatedly remind children that they must recite the standard answers, do their best to present a positive image of themselves, and should under no circumstances mention their favourite cartoons or video games.

It’s nothing new that parents everywhere are doing their utmost to give their children a headstart, but cramming children under 7-year-old with the so-called standard answers or interview skills seems a bit too far.

Not long ago, the Ministry of Education reiterated its insistence that kindergartens should not teach courses meant for primary schools.

Sadly, anxious parents just send their kids to intensive after-school tutorials or enrichment programs.

Many parents believe this training could help their children survive the intensifying competition in schooling.

Given the pandemic “getting ahead” frenzy, it is children who suffer the most, with many preschoolers barely having time and energy to explore their interests, cultivate learning habits or develop proper manners. And these qualities may go a long way in their future lives.


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