With a competitive student environment, many middle class parents are signing up for extravagant ways to give their children a head start to success.
According to CRI News, many entrepreneurs are now setting up training institutions that offer programs such as “Royal equestrianism courses for young kids” and “Golf summer camps for little children.” Targeted towards the middle class, one such institution in Guangzhou is offering “CEO courses” for children as young as three, with students getting two classes per week at a cost of 50,000 yuan ($7,500) annually.
A report by the Global Times points out that the syllabus for these CEO courses includes corporate leadership building activities like “filing in missing words in sentences and stacking up toy bricks” in small class groups of between 3 to 8 students per teacher. These activities are designed to enable the children to become “powerful, competitive leaders,” according to the provider.
But what is a CEO without a good golf game? One golf club in Guangzhou provides five-day basic golf training courses to kids above the age of three, costing 1,000 yuan per day without accommodation. If parents enroll their kids in a month of golf classes, that’s 20,000 yuan ($3,000). Which is about triple the average monthly salary in Guangzhou (6,913 Yuan).
SCMP reports that the reasons behind this expensive parenting trend mostly comes from peer pressure from fellow parents. One parent, who had spent 8,800 yuan for a private English course for her two-year-old daughter, explains that her friends are also having these classes for their children and she doesn’t want her daughter to be “left behind.”
Experts also suggested that the phenomenon could be attributed to the urge for middle class parents to attain a higher social status, with higher-priced courses earning more respect from their peers.
Yet, many of these training institutions lack proper accreditation to provide the courses they offer. According to CRI, the China Consumers Association (CCA) received 2,626 complaints about the education and training service sector in the first six months of 2016 alone. SCMP noted that these complaints centered around the poor quality of teachers at these institutions that are “no better than babysitters.”
In addition, some of these institutions did not meet safety, equipment and management requirements for the courses offered. The Global Times noted how golf training and equestrian courses were the worst offenders, as many did not provide or alter their facilities in order for children to learn safely.
Ultimately, experts have suggested that these courses are for the benefit of the parents, not the children. Given the exhausting amount of school work that kids have to deal with in China, they urge parents to give children some spare time to relax, rather than sacrificing their free time for classes that teach them how to run companies by stacking blocks.
By Arnie Yung
[Images from Sohu / chinaso / cul.china / NetEase]