Photo Credit: Synyan, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/
By Michael Cleverly
The Chinese government made a law during the summer regulating after-school, off-school and online tutoring limiting when tutoring could take place. The government said the children were already doing more than they needed to and to help ease the work burden they would regulate tutoring to give students more time to relax. This regulation may relate to a recent change in policy increasing the number of children people can have from two to three.
Dr. Haisong Ye, Instructional Designer of Center for Teaching and Learning at Cedarville University, who came to the US from China nine years ago, said, “So parents are worrying about ‘If I got more kids I need to pay more for them for the education, so my understanding is that the government is trying to relieve that kind of pressure from parents.’”
If parents have more kids they might not be able to afford education for them because of the different expenses. Educational resources across China are not equal, with better education being in the big cities. So, parents may want to send their children to a better school. However, if they want to send their child to a school that’s in a different school district then they need to buy a house or apartment in that district. So, parents wanting to send children to a better school need to buy a residency in advance and look for a new job in the area.
This plan to ease the financial burden might backfire since parents are still concerned about their child’s future. Some parents may seek to get around this and find expensive tutors that are obscure. However, the government didn’t totally ban tutoring, so children can still get tutoring. Parents view after-school tutoring as important for their children because of the standardized test.
At the end of high school, students take the standardized test which determines if someone will go to college or vocational school. The standardized test is difficult and because it determines what career fields will be available to someone in the future it’s also competitive. Parents desire to give their children the best education possible, so they will have a better chance at being successful.
This regulation might also be a way to limit foreign influence. Tutoring sessions may use western textbooks and some tutors may even be from an English-speaking western country. By limiting when tutoring takes place the government can better control foreign influence on China’s population. This would also correspond with another regulation made recently that bans overseas curriculum for use up through college and discourages its use in college.
According to Dr. Tianhong Zhang, Assistant Professor of Education, VP Kids, an after-school English tutoring program that was popular in China, has already shut down and bankrupt in China.
He said, “They do not allow the introduction of overseas curriculum.”
As China takes steps that make it harder for western curriculum to be taught and for westerners to enter China to teach education might not change much. It’s good to learn a foreign language from a native speaker, however as generations have continually learned English as a business language people don’t care as much since they know their children can still get a decent education. However, these restrictions may not be permanent.
Dr. Kim, professor of International Studies at Cedarville University, “Maybe this is a kind of warning and the Chinese government may loosen the grip sometime later. But for now, that’s the intention. The government sometimes expresses intention but that doesn’t necessarily mean they follow.”
Michael Cleverley is a junior Journalism major with an Asian Studies minor and writer for Cedars. When not studying or working on a story for Cedars he likes to write, knit and hang out with friends.