Value of Education in China through Generations.
Over the years, it has eventually become more common for young men and women to leave school and go on to bigger and brighter futures. It hasn’t always been the case. And it has taken many years for people to become more enabled financially to send their children to good schools and universities to allow them to take on such profitable careers.
Following the Cultural Revolution in 1966-1976, the Chinese Education system took a turn for the better and began to modernise their attitude towards schooling and by 1985 a minimum 9-hours a day schooling for kids from the age of 6.
This rapidly evolved into the current day educational system where public schools require children to take part in education from ages 6-12 at Primary Level and 12-18 at Secondary school, much like here in the UK.
While this all sounds great, the aspect of education that I would like to look into is the emotional attachment and attitudes that people of different Generations hold. How does a country feel about going from parents arranging marriages as soon as their daughters can bare children to super talented geniuses who are clever enough and brilliant enough to take over the global market in businesses.
It is often publicised that Chinese parents, thanks to the hefty fines that must be paid if they have more than one child, often push their children to be the best since for most parents, it is their only child. With Parent’s rightfully taking great pride in their children being multitalented and intelligent, it has become a stereotype that Chinese Children are all extremely bright and talented. And many Youtube-Famous child prodigy’s would coincidentally support this theory. But for every child who is encouraged and supported by their parent’s there is also a child who is discouraged and must support their own family by dropping out of school and working.
Having spoken to a friend of mine who grew up in China, I asked her a few questions about her upbringing and how she felt her parents supported her choices with her education and with moving to the UK to study at University. She had said that her parent’s felt she’d receive a higher quality education if she moved abroad. From her experience she feels that it has become increasingly popular in her Hometown at least for people to move abroad to study and soak in a different culture after having left school. And while there are many opportunities for people in China, there are also many dead end jobs. Jobs which pay enough to keep your life a-float but too little to better yourself.
As seen in Paul Merton’s “Paul Merton in China” series, Many parents and grandparents often try to match their children and grandchildren up with wealthy suitors and see their children’s talents and smarts as “Selling points”. While this may be categorically true – many of the ambitious teenagers themselves find that their want for success and drive for a good job and independence greatly out weighs their need to find a husband or wife. This supports the idea that in the current generation of people in education are much more accustomed to the modern lifestyle and approach to independence than their predecessors.
I have found that in my research and interview that many of the older generations do believe in education first, finding a match/suitor second – as in my friend’s case who’s parents were incredibly encouraging with her pursuit for a higher education and independence. I suppose it helps that she is an incredibly smart, well dressed girl who happened to fall in love while in Scotland much to her family’s added delight!
In conclusion, my findings, observations along with my small interview, I find that while stereotypes are rarely ever accurate many Chinese youngsters do appreciate the opportunities they come across more than students in the UK and this is partially through the adversity many women have come across over the last few generations, each mother wanting better for their daughter and the pattern continuing down the family tree.
And I find it incredibly refreshing that many young Chinese people want to come to the UK to study despite their extensive University programs offered back home. Everyone loves a bit of multi-cultural socialising and without sounding patronising, I am one of those people. The chinese education system is similar to our own but we just don’t appreciate our own as much as we should.
Thank you to my friend for participating in my interviews and giving me a background of what China is like from a local’s view.