By Tom McGregor, CNTV Panview Commentator
Families from all over the world are expected to celebrate Children’s Day on June 1. It’s a day to honor kids, especially those living in China.
In China and throughout much of Asia, families want their children to study hard in elementary schools, so they can achieve high marks and classroom rankings that help them to enter more prestigious middle schools and high schools later on.
On the contrary, many elementary school students in the West can bask in carefree lives, where they could have nap times, play sports, take arts and music classes, along with learning the 3 Rs’ – Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.
Western students are taught the values of acting independent, thinking independent and working independent, so they can embark on their future careers with confidence. Such ideals have captured the hearts of many Chinese parents, who wish to to send their children to Western schools.
Not so rosy picture for schools in the West
Nevertheless, Chinese parents, growing frustrated with the rigid education system in their native country, have gotten too eager to send their children abroad without recognizing major societal ills elsewhere in the world.
Western schools do have some advantages, since students can be more creative. But, parents should understand that in countries, such as the United States, the Land of the Free is also the Land of Debauchery.
Western students have been taught to hold high self-esteem, but many kids have gotten more prone to bullying, engaging in sexually promiscuous behavior or do illicit drugs, which include elementary school students at the inner-cities of America.
Many teacher are afraid to discipline students for fear that money-hungry lawyers suing and school boards firing them. US President Barack Obama also mandated that all public schools must allow boys, who claim to be gender-confused, to enter the girls bathrooms, showers and locker rooms.
Should Chinese parents believe their children are safe in Western schools?
China’s education system struggles with its own problems
Many Chinese parents have witnessed the tragic flaws of their nation’s education system, and are willing to risk their child’s safety and morality to send them abroad. Yes, Chinese students are high achievers, scoring high marks, compared with students from the rest of the world.
But, the environment is much too competitive. Parents place stress on their kids, expecting them to get less sleep to do more homework to improve their test scores. Young students are shamed into performing well in school or risk ostracism from their family, friends and local community.
It’s a similar pattern of behavior in South Korea and Japan, where teenager suicide rates rank the highest in the world.
The Exam-based education system in Asia will continue on, although many students may fall through the cracks, because not all children have books smarts, while some others may wish to study subjects that allow them to use their hands or they are creative, but are overly-sensitive.
Finding the right solution for a study-life balance
Parents, such as myself, who are raising young children in China or in Asia, should ensure their kids get the best opportunities in life with a proper education. Yet, the education culture here will remain too ingrained with an exam-driven society for the near future.
But the solution is not to send your child to danger zones in the West. It’s best for parents to take a middle ground and encourage their kids to be more creative and show an independent spirit while they attend Chinese schools.
Let your children dream and if they wish to become a farmer or a business person, let them, because they will become more productive and happy members of society. If they love art, let them draw; love sports, let them play. Who knows? They might become superstars and your children will appreciate your support.
Of course, children should also learn the importance of hard work, meeting deadlines and having a strong moral backbone, and this is where Chinese schools have succeeded and will continue to do so.