By Guo Qiang (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2006-09-30 17:20
Some call three-year-old Xiaojie (alias) a prodigy. He can recite hundreds of poems and competently communicate with others, as well as introduce himself in simple English, writes the City Express on September 29.
Others call Xiao an utter dunce for not being able to eat properly and his lack of toilet training.
Wei Yongkang, a Hunan native, may very well understand Xiao's situation.
Wei Yongkang, a Hunan native was accepted into the China Institute of Social Science at the age of 17. But he had to be fed by his mother when he was in his third year of senior high school. Wei made headlines again following his dismissal from the country's top research body for his inability to look after himself two years later, at 19. [File]
In early 2006 the story of Wei, a prodigy, swept through the Chinese media.
Wei rose to fame after being accepted into the China Institute of Social Science at the age of 17. Wei made headlines again following his dismissal from the country's top research body for his inability to look after himself two years later, at 19.
These stories are raising awareness about early childhood education in a country where parents are keen to cultivate their sons into 'dragons' and their daughters into 'phoenixes'.
In the 1960s, China was embroiled in a wave of change originating from the thoughts of the late Chairman Mao, calling for China's thousands of young men and women to undergo a national campaign for rehabilitation in China's huge countryside. Because of this, most of them were deprived of their right of education.
Naturally, they pushed their dreams of education onto their offspring, relying on their children to finish an education that they themselves were not given the opportunity to do. China's education system, with its focus on exams and scores has also bred rampant social problems.
"Children must build a solid foundation of knowledge in childhood. They cannot miss the best opportunities to learn," Xiao's mother says, adding that they can learn to take care of themselves after they grow up.
Xiao's mother's words reflect most ambitious Chinese parents.
Experts attribute children's changing from prodigies into dunces to parents' irrational teaching methods and their tendency to dote on their children.
"Parents are to be blamed for the change," one of China's top teachers Li Shuying says.
"Parents always neglect children's social abilities. Their children will likely look down on themselves for they cannot cook a meal on their own or play with classmates," Li says, adding that kids may lose confidence and interest in their future lives.
"Xiaojie has never used a spoon and when he felt thirsty, his grandmother had to help him drink water. How can he learn to eat or drink by himself?." WHO SAID THIS?
For parents who lost their opportunities for education, cultivating their offspring's mental capabilities is often seen as more important than nurturing their social skills. But experts differ, claiming it isn't good for children to absorb a large volume of knowledge when they are young.
"It is time for children Xiao's age to play," Li told the paper, adding that children's abilities should be cultivated through games, through which children can lay a solid foundation for the future.CommentComment: It's always interesting to learn about early childhood development problems in other countries.