Bilin­gual ap­proach helps to broaden hori­zons

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - Rel­a­tive nor­mal­ity Source: The 2017 white pa­per of Chi­nese mid­dle-class fam­ily ed­u­ca­tional con­cept con­ducted by iRe­search.

The young ap­pli­cant from Shang­hai ap­pears a very strong can­di­date if you scan his glam­orous 15-page re­sume. He has ex­cel­lent lan­guage skills: he can re­cite more than 100 tra­di­tional Chi­nese po­ems and read more than 500 books in English a year.

He ex­cels at sci­ence: he loves solv­ing Sudoku puz­zles and en­joys read­ing about log­i­cal rea­son­ing and ge­om­e­try. More­over, he has gained a ba­sic ground­ing in the the­o­ries of den­sity, mag­netism and grav­ity through ex­per­i­ments.

He is also gifted at arts and sports: he plays pi­ano, loves danc­ing and has pro­duced more than 150 draw­ings and paint­ings. He also loves soc­cer and swim­ming, and has reached a high level of pro­fi­ciency at Go, a strate­gic board game that is pop­u­lar across Asia.

In terms of per­son­al­ity, he de­scribes him­self as vi­brant, con­fi­dent, cu­ri­ous, re­silient, friendly and con­sid­er­ate.

How­ever, this per­son is not a pas­sion­ate job seeker — in­stead, he is a 5-year-old boy hop­ing to win a place at the pres­ti­gious Shang­hai Star­river Bilin­gual School.

When the re­sume was leaked online in early Novem­ber, it sparked heated de­bate. Some ne­ti­zens said it out­shone the re­sumes of many first­class univer­sity grad­u­ates, while oth­ers doubted if such a busy child could re­ally be happy.

How­ever, the boy’s fam­ily is just one of many af­flu­ent house­holds in which the par­ents are turn­ing away from China’s tra­di­tional exam-ori­ented ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and em­brac­ing more in­ter­na­tional and di­verse meth­ods.

Though the length of the boy’s re­sume and the ex­pe­ri­ences listed may ap­pear ex­cep­tional or even daunt­ing, they are ac­tu­ally rel­a­tively nor­mal among ap­pli­cants for pri­vate bilin­gual or in­ter­na­tional schools, ac­cord­ing to Li Ai, di­rec­tor and founder of Bei­jing Blos­som­ing Kids Co, a provider of af­ter-school ed­u­ca­tion in the cap­i­tal.

Li, who spent more than 10 years as a teacher at an in­ter­na­tional school in Bei­jing, said that af­ter 2008 she no­ticed a sharp rise in the num­ber of Chi­nese, as op­posed to Western, chil­dren join­ing her class.

Rec­og­niz­ing the bur­geon­ing pri­vate mar­ket, she left the school in 2016 and founded her com­pany to of­fer ex­tracur­ric­u­lar classes in English and math to help Chi­nese chil­dren bet­ter adapt to ex­ter­nal cour­ses such as the in­ter­na­tional bac­calau­re­ate diploma pro­gram, which is used across the globe, and A Lev­els, which are pri­mar­ily used for univer­sity en­try in the United King­dom.

The com­pany also helps to pre­pare ap­pli­ca­tions to in­ter­na­tional schools in China. Ac­cord­ing to Li, some stu­dents’ re­sumes can eas­ily stretch to 10 to 20 pages and some­times par­ents even at­tach a video.

“When par­ents come and tell me which school they want their child to at­tend, I ask them if the kid has stud­ied pi­ano or gen­eral arts, and ques­tion them about the child’s in­ter­ests and how they dis­play them,” she said.

An in­ter­est in such ac­tiv­i­ties as Pek­ing Opera and char­ity art ex­hi­bi­tions are among the must-haves for a child to se­cure a place at a select in­ter­na­tional school, she added.

Though some ob­servers may be con­cerned that these ex­pe­ri­ences will add to the bur­den on young­sters, many par­ents be­lieve that a

Were tak­ing ex­tracur­ric­u­lar classes

Had taken ex­tra classes, but were not tak­ing them when the sur­vey was con­ducted Had never taken ex­tra classes

30.9 24.4 18.7

State pub­lic schools In­ter­na­tional schools Over­seas study

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North Amer­ica Aus­tralia Ja­pan/South Korea

SAN BAICHAN / FOR CHINA DAILY

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