The government will downgrade the rankings of kindergartens

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    A boy practices performing calculation on an abacus in a preschool class in Yiyang Wholesale Kansas City Chiefs Jersey , Henan Province in December, 2013. Photo: IC
    Starting this week, Beijing's education authority will launch an inspection into its kindergarten system looking for schools that place heavy academic burdens on pupils.

    The government will downgrade the rankings of kindergartens that teach children primary school level subjects like English, pinyin and math skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division involving numbers larger than 20. The involved kindergarten headmasters will be held accountable, according to Beijing Municipal Commission of Education.

    Kindergartens should focus on helping kids form proper behavioral habits Wholesale Jacksonville Jaguars Jersey , learn to perceive rules and understand their surroundings through games and activities, said Fu Zhifeng, deputy director of the commission. He said that Beijing's preschools are banned from teaching kids topics that should be taught in primary schools.

    Kindergartens that push children too hard by teaching them primary schools curriculums is a problem that has plagued China's education system for many years. The Beijing government launched programs to try to stamp it out in 2012 and 2013 but it has persisted nevertheless.

    Under China's high-pressure exam-oriented education system in primary and high schools, kindergartens have joined hands with parents to stuff preschoolers with as much education as possible to prepare them in future competition.

    Looking for a head start

    Chinese parents who want their children to be competitive right from the start of their education are keen on their offspring being pushed to their limits as soon as possible.

    Wei Hongsheng, a father of a 3-year-old boy, sent his son to a private kindergarten in Yizhuang, Beijing last year.

    "I am starting to worry that my son may fall behind in his primary school studies Wholesale Indianapolis Colts Jersey , since his kindergarten only teaches him English and basic Chinese," Wei told the Global Times, adding that the school is the only kindergarten close to his neighborhood.

    Chinese children will start primary school when they are 6 years old, according to China's Compulsory Education Law.

    After kindergarten finishes, Wei and his wife teach their son numeracy skills and watch educational DVDs with him, in a bid to improve his son's ability to learn.

    "My son's kindergarten also provides some optional classes, such as drawing and dance Wholesale Houston Texans Jersey ," Wei said.

    If the kindergarten changes its current curriculum due to the inspection, Wei says he will have to teach his son by himself or send him to an unregulated training agency.

    Wei knows that overloading his son with academic burdens at such a young age is tough on his boy but he says that "all the kids around us are learning what the primary school teaches, and I am forced to let my boy join them."

    Chinese kindergartens too, feel forced to teach English, math and Chinese in order to win more students.

    Primary schools, inundated with students that have already learnt the basics of their curriculum, often skip big chunks of it that have been rendered superfluous.

    Li Hong Wholesale Green Bay Packers Jersey , a mother of a 6-year-old girl in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, said that she is glad that her daughter learnt some English in kindergarten.

    "The [primary] school didn't bother teaching the English alphabet after the teachers found out that almost all of the kids knew it already," Li told the Global Times.

    Flourishing training institutes

    There are numerous education training institutes for preschoolers in Beijing. Some of institutes contacted by the Global Times claimed that they were fully booked for the next month.

    An instructor with a training agency located in Fengtai district, surnamed Ye, said that their teachers also teach in public kindergartens across Beijing.

    "Our textbooks summarize the math, English and Chinese that are taught in the first two years of primary school Wholesale Detroit Lions Jersey , and are specially designed for preschoolers," she said.

    The agency teaches 5-year-old preschoolers conversational English, Chinese poems, and mathematical problems involving numbers smaller than 10 during the first semester, and then expands the calculations to involve numbers larger than 10 but smaller than 100 during the second semester, according to Ye.

    Besides academic classes, agencies also offer dance Wholesale Denver Broncos Jersey , calligraphy, taekwondo and drawing lessons. Beijing agencies charge 2,000 yuan to 6,000 yuan for three-month academic courses, not including optional classes.

    Preschool educational services in China have an enormous client base, and in some popular fields like English, the market's growth rate could reach 20 percent per year Wholesale Dallas Cowboys Jersey , according to the Xinhua News Agency. China has about 180 million children under the age of 8 and more than 20 million babies are born annually.

    In Beijing, where there are more children than places at kindergartens, some parents have no choice but to send their kids to private preschool training agencies instead - if they can afford it.

    Currently, private preschool training institutes are not regulated in China and most of the employees at the institutes are not professionally trained. Some agencies even teach courses to preschoolers that have been abandoned in foreign countries, Liu Yan, a preschool education professor with Beijing Normal University, told the China Education Daily.

    Education system reform

    The fundamental reason behind the immense pressure put on preschoolers is the country's exam-oriented education system Wholesale Cleveland Browns Jersey , experts said.

    "If primary school enrollment exams are not abolished, the phenomenon of kindergartens placing heavy academic burdens on students cannot disappear," said Chu Zhaohui, a research fellow with the National Institute of Educational Sciences.

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