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Chinese parents scramble to get their kids into summer school programs

People's Daily Online | Updated: 2017-08-07 09:36

The boom of summer tutoring programs has spread fiercely, consuming the time and money of parents and students.

A junior middle school student said in a live interview that he had nine hours of classes every day for his entire summer break. "All my classmates are in summer tutoring classes, " he said.

Summer classes, including math, English, and art are considered necessary for students, while many parents see overseas study tours as good opportunities for their children to get ahead, filling their children's days with a wide range of programs, despite the high costs of around $4,000 to $6,000.

Some courses are organized by the students' primary and middle schools, warned by the Ministry of Education on Wednesday. According to, the excessive pursuit of enrolment rates and school competition has led to the high number of summer programs, despite being prohibited.

A parent said she felt pressured by the current trend. "I don't want my son to have pressure at such a young age, but if I don't do this he'll fall behind his peers," she said. "It's not just the students competing, but the parents too."

The Ministry of Education released new restrictions on Wednesday to reduce the workload of primary and middle school students during the summer vacation. A more reasonable and meaningful summer program was encouraged, such as participating in social activities, getting close to nature, and conducting observation and inquiry-based learning, rather than all kinds of tutorial courses, said a notice.

Experts say that not all education pays off. Parents should not follow "bad trends" but rather engage education in a more meaningful way.

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