Holiday classes increase Chinese parents' anxiety about education
BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- "Don't let the children fail from the start." During the summer holidays, this saying has been making parents anxious.
A mother surnamed Huo in the eastern Chinese city of Fuzhou feels this anxiety. She sent her daughter to start senior middle school courses just five days after taking the entrance examination.
During the holidays, Huo's daughter has four classes a day, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., six days per week.
According to a survey conducted by China Youth Daily last week, 93 percent of respondents found that most of the parents around them had signed their children up for at least two holiday courses.
The survey questioned 2,012 people, 81 percent of whom are parents of primary or middle school students.
Zhang Lei, a senior middle school teacher in east China's Anhui Province, said about 75 percent of her students were taking holiday classes this summer.
Many of them were pressured by their parents to take the classes, Zhang said.
"Everyone is taking classes during the summer holiday. I don't want my child to fall behind," said a 40-year-old mother from Shanghai.
According to the survey, more than half of the respondents said they sent their children to holiday programs because others did.
Parents feel the pressure from other parents, said Professor Chen Youhua at Nanjing University, adding that under current exam policies, it is difficult to change the situation.
The survey also showed over half of the respondents noted that most children around them are unwilling to take these classes.
More than 65 percent of the respondents expressed the hope that parents can change their views toward education, and be less anxious.
Yin Fei, a teacher at Nanjing Normal University, said the teaching efficiency and quality of schools should be enhanced. Yin also called for a better system to evaluate the overall performance of students.
Zhang Baoyi, director of the Institute of Sociology at Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences, said holidays should be used as an opportunity for students to learn more about society, instead of a supplement regular school learning time.