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A girl tries a livestreaming course of an online school in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]
THE Ministry of Education has launched a campaign to put an end to the trend of more and more kindergartens to teach primary school courses.
This is not the first time the education authority has targeted kindergartens that have jumped-the-gun by providing lessons that should be taught in primary schools. Previously, primary and middle schools had been in the crosshairs of similar campaigns.
But it is unrealistic to anchor all hope on the administrative department's move, as the campaign cannot address the root cause of the practice, which stems from the insufficient supply of quality education resources.
Statistics show that more than 94 percent of surveyed parents of kindergarten children and elementary school pupils think it is necessary for children to learn primary school courses in advance in kindergarten so they can get a head start in the education race.
With so many children learning the grade 1 courses before entering primary schools, the teachers tend to spend less time on the lessons turning the classes into spoon-fed knowledge cramming rather than stimulating the pupils' interest in the subject.
For instance, it should take three to four weeks to teach the basics of Pinyin to grade 1 students. But since children have grasped this knowledge in kindergarten, the teachers finish the course in one week. And since public schools are not allowed to add to students' burdens, the teachers just repeat what the textbooks say. But the competition for a seat in key middle schools is fierce, and the exams involve knowledge far beyond the primary school textbooks.
This is actually a big change that creates great difficulties for the children who have not learned the course in advance, forcing them to take extracurricular training out of school, which leads to a vicious circle that extends all the way to middle school.
So it is unfair to only point the finger at the kindergartens and training agencies, mostly private ones, for fanning up parents' anxiety over their children's future.
The ministry's kindergarten rectification campaign must not only target the kindergartens. Before teachers of the primary schools, mostly public ones, resume their normal pace and teaching style, it is almost impossible for the market players to ignore the existence of this strong demand from parents.