A child aged 3 may be just learning how to dress himself, and is clinging to mom or dad. It seems that the Chinese peers are precocious – these 3-year-old children are sent to a training school to take a "CEO course".
There are two semesters for school children, but there are a third semester for the Chinese peers. Though it's very common to see children attending extra-curricular classes during the two-month summer vacation, it's still shocking to see a child receiving CEO trainings, as young as 3 years old.
Parents in Guangzhou can spend 50,000 yuan to enroll their children in a "CEO training course" at the 'Leederedu' school, for a year.
"Hand us a kid, we give you back a future leader," said a poster of the elite school.
The school offers classes to develop "CEO characteristics" in children aged 3 to 12 years old, twice a week. These children are expected to develop "leadership abilities" and "competitiveness" through the course, which is now popular with Chinese parents.
Chinese parents traditionally send children on courses geared towards sports (golf, horse-riding, fencing), arts (drawing, singing, dancing), conventional education subjects (calligraphy, abacus arithmetic), or Western etiquette. The effects of such training courses are dubious, but many parents still follow like sheep, making these courses very popular in China.
"In fact, the class provides a place for our children to play together. It is actually a baby-sitting organization," said one parent. "Some parents enrolled their kids because they did not want to see their children left behind by their peers."
That's one of the reasons why "elite courses" have sprung up across China in recent years. Many children are taught about their emotions or trained to develop skills more commonly associated with adults.
Zhang Hao, an IT technician in Beijing, enrolled his three-year-old daughter on a leadership course in June. He paid a discounted annual fee of 12,000 yuan (£1,360) for two 40-minute classes per week.
"I am not really sure what they teach in the class, but they promised that after my daughter was trained she would become more confident and would easily become the center of attention among her friends," Mr. Zhang told The Telegraph.
"But I doubt the course can really teach a child to be a future leader because they are too young. What more do you expect a three-year old to do? My daughter doesn't even know how to put her own shoes on", he continued.
However, these children have less time to enjoy childhood and play games with peers. What's worse, they are under pressure to perform well at school so that they won't disappoint their parents.
Experts suggest that parents should encourage their children to do housework with them to improve their living skills, or, to join extra-curricular classes based on children's real interests.
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