After seeing the value of Chinese education fall significantly, some parents are turning to new methods of educations for their young children.
Foreign Policy reported an increased interest among parents in sending their children to alternative kindergarten and elementary schools that promote academic freedom and individuality.
This is in stark contrast to the traditional way of learning in China, one which focuses on rote memorization and test scores. Instead, for up to $US8,000 a year, these alternative schools base their curriculum on Western pedagogy.
One Beijing school, Ri Ri Xin, has about 300 students and 70 teachers. The cofounder said all their students came to them through word-of-mouth and recommendations. Another school called Ba Academy has 500 students and 200 teachers, with two different campuses.
The decision to send children to alternative schools also clashes with the Chinese government’s ongoing reinforcement of party ideology. Uniformity is the new rule, and China’s ministry of education recently banned any university textbooks that promote Western values, among other directives.
According to the article, China doesn’t really acknowledge alternative schools as legitimate academic institutions, which has discouraged some parents from joining. Students are allowed to enter the state school system midway through, as long as they pass the required tests.