School’s in for sum­mer

The World of Chinese - - Cover Story -

These are some of the tasks as­signed by a Bei­jing school to an 8-year-old child for his two-month sum­mer va­ca­tion. The school is nei­ther ex­cep­tion­ally ex­pen­sive nor cheap, and is rea­son­ably rep­re­sen­ta­tive of schools in Bei­jing. Stu­dents who do not com­plete all ex­er­cises are not pun­ished, but their in­abil­ity to com­plete the tasks is noted and not-so-sub­tly hinted at dur­ing par­ent-teacher in­ter­views. Due to the na­ture of most of these tasks, parental par­tic­i­pa­tion is all but com­pul­sory.

each stu­dent has to

De­sign a poster for a school an­niver­sary Be a “fil­ial star,” which in­volves “hon­or­ing” elderly fam­ily mem­bers and help­ing out neigh­bors (photo ev­i­dence re­quired) Par­tic­i­pate in “com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties” “Show love” for the Com­mu­nist Party and China (specifics not pro­vided, but pho­tos are re­quired) Go to a lo­cal com­mu­nity cen­ter event (pho­tos re­quired) Par­tic­i­pate in “happy read­ing ac­tiv­i­ties”: Par­ents must rec­om­mend books on a set topic for stu­dents to read. A Pow­er­point pre­sen­ta­tion is re­quired Watch a doc­u­men­tary At­tend a con­cert Visit a mu­seum See an art ex­hi­bi­tion Study the ocean and the coun­try’s navy, then log onto a web­site to com­plete a con­test Study tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture Study food safety and cul­ture; draw a pic­ture which rep­re­sents these is­sues. The pic­ture will be judged as part of a com­pe­ti­tion Learn three pa­tri­otic songs, which will be sung af­ter re­turn­ing to school At­tend an app-based “dig­i­tal sum­mer camp” Com­plete daily phys­i­cal ex­er­cise in­clud­ing: sit-ups, jump­ing jacks, toe-touch, and jump rope

This is in ad­di­tion to reg­u­lar Chi­nese, math, and English home­work: Stu­dents are as­signed a hand­book to com­plete in each sub­ject.

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