Along with new duds from the Hello Kitty and Peanuts fall collections, another item has found its way onto the back-to-school lists of Shanghai high-schoolers: a set of good manners.
In a radical extension of social policy:
Gratitude will become a new moral requirement of high school students in Shanghai when their new semester starts in September.
The educational commission of the municipality issued new regulations on school kids’ behavior and moral standards [last week], demanding that students “learn to present thanks to others.”
It seems that teachers believe many Shanghai parents “neglect the moral cultivation” of their children, a negligence which these teachers fear “might result in children’s selfishness.”
Zhou Hong, an official in charge of students’ moral cultivation at the education commission, believes that “it’s very essential for today’s youngsters, most of whom are from single-child families, to learn to harbor gratitude to others.” He went on to state that:
… the single-child generation, regarded as “little emperors“, are egocentric and should learn to be thankful for all that they own and enjoy.
Shanghaiist remains skeptical as to how this policy will play out, as ‘compulsory gratitude’ appears up there with ‘military intelligence’ on our list of oxymorons — on the other hand, at least the education commission isn’t supporting intelligent design.