NewsChina, Chinese Edition
Education has become a battlefield in China, one where the weapon is parental money. In the 1980s, parents were focused with laser-like intensity on the college entrance exam, in the 1990s they spared no effort to find a decent senior high school, and in the 2000s the focus switched to junior high schools. In the 2010s, though, parents have begun to switch to making sure their kids don’t “lose at the starting line” by making sure they get into the right elementary school. Since China has a catchment system, parents end up trying to buy houses in some of the most expensive areas of Beijing and Shanghai – where even a tiny room now costs a fortune. In Shanghai, two private elementary schools have started making parents take tests themselves before kids can be accepted. And after-class training schools have sprung nationwide, trying to profit from the growing demand to stuff small kids full of information. But experts warned that this could come at a cost – and that the key point was still the college entrance exam. The route to a good elementary education in China has turned out to be a test of parents’ wallets, judgement and luck.