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Chinese children learning English at an early age: survey

Friday, May 27, 2016,15:36 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Beijing | Chinese parents are having their children learn English at an early age and are spending huge amount as they think it would be advantageous for their future, according to a new survey.

The survey published by the state-run China Youth Daily said English has been introduced in primary schools, but more parents are teaching their children the second language before the age of five. Nearly 70 per cent of the 2,003 respondents reported that their own children or children they know started learning English before they turned five, mainly due to Chinese parents’ fixation on giving their children an early advantage.

Another major reason is that parents believe it is more effective to cultivate children’s language skills at an early age. Many parents send their kids to early childhood English-language learning institutions, though they can be pricey. ┬áSome 39 per cent of respondents said parents pay between 10,000-20,000 yuan (USD 1,524-3,047) annually to such institutions, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Fu Lili, a mother of a four-year-old, said learning institutions with native English-speaking teachers can charge higher prices.

Shi Longwei, associate professor of education at Southwest University, said it is more important for children to have the freedom to grow and develop their own interest. Zhong Guangyi, a Beijing-based freelance photographer, has decided to teach her two-year-old daughter’s English at home with her husband.

Home schooling is not only more focused on the child than learning institutions, but also leads to more parent- children interaction, said Zhong, who also runs a WeChat account promoting early reading. She added that in China’s first and second-tier cities, where highly educated parents tend to concentrate, it is more common to see parents teach their children at home.

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