A growing number of kindergartens in China are teaching courses that should be taught only at the primary school level - a result of competition from private preschools that offer such courses as well as demand from anxious parents who want their children to ace the primary school entrance exams and interviews. This is a commentary by China Youth Daily, carried in China Daily on Wednesday (July 18).
BEIJING - China's Ministry of Education recently issued a notice banning kindergartens from teaching primary school content.
The notice is in response to parents' mounting complaints that kindergartens are becoming more and more examination oriented and focusing on rote memory learning.
According to educational theory, kindergartens should focus on games rather than teaching. However, in recent years, more kindergartens have started to teach elementary school content, seeking to impart knowledge and skills training to young children.
This has led to a tendency among kindergartens to act as elementary schools, which not only deprives young children of their happiness, but also dampens their interest in learning and affects their healthy development.
Although the education authorities have done a lot to ease the children's schooling burden, their instructions have not prompted commercial training organisations and private schools to change their ways.
This is because some parents are anxious that their children might get left behind if their preschools focus on games rather than teaching.
Worried that their children would lose out in the competitive enrolment exam and interviews for key primary schools, these parents choose to put them into all kinds of expensive preschool courses organised by training agencies, one year before they graduate from kindergarten.
As a result, regular kindergartens that focus on play rather than rote learning are having difficulty finding enough pupils.
To solve the kindergarten issue, the education ministry needs to increase the supply of quality education resources and make their distribution more even to meet people's needs.
Kindergartens, which admit children aged three to five, should pay more attention to cultivating children's basic knowledge and social skills, and inspire the children to explore their own talents and imaginations, which will be invaluable assets throughout their lives.
Fundamentally, we must work hard to create an educational environment and society that allows parents to calmly and rationally choose the best educational path for their children.