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Childhood for many Chinese children is an unending drumbeat of extracurricular classes that has become an expensive time management nightmare for parents and has put many off the idea of larger families.   © Reuters
The Big Story

Leave them kids alone: Parents tire of China's world-beating education system

Cram schools and private tutoring curtailed to level the field and lower anxiety

MARRIAN ZHOU and CK TAN, Nikkei staff writers | China

NEW YORK/SHANGHAI -- Ginny Feng still wonders if she did the right thing. Five years ago, when her son was 3, she decided not to start him in intensive math and Chinese language programs along with the rest of his peers. The 40ish-year-old human resources consultant from Guangzhou, in southern China, was worried that if her son learned the subjects ahead of time, he would not pay attention in class when he started elementary school.

But she later found out that preschool tutoring classes were a necessity. For her son, the subsequent years have been a harrowing process of catching up. "The teachers would assume all the kids had already learned Pinyin [phonetic Chinese script] and basic addition and subtraction," Feng told Nikkei Asia. "They teach very fast."

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