Primary school halts use of green scarves

Updated: 2011-10-19 20:06


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XI'AN - A primary school in northwest China has ceased a controversial practice that categorized some students as misbehaved or poor academic performers by making them wear green scarves.

Primary school halts use of green scarves

A pupil at a primary school of Weiyang district, Xi'an, who was told he had to wear a green scarf, takes it off as his family picks him up after lessons on Monday. [Provided to China Daily] 

The school, First Experimental Primary School in Weiyang district in the city of Xi'an, issued green scarves to students who needed to improve their grades or behavior. Other students wore red scarves, which is the uniform norm for primary school students throughout China.

Local media reports raised concerns that the practice divided students into two groups of "good" and "bad" according to which kerchief was worn.

In Chinese culture, red is the predominantly favored color. In the the stock market, for example, red indicates a rise while green means a decline.

The short-lived practice began on October 13, but teachers said that as of Wednesday students were no longer wearing the green scarves, and parent-teacher meetings had been held to explain the situation.

A teacher surnamed Yan said the school's intention was to give underperforming students green scarves to prod them into catching up with better performing students. Green, the color of buds, is meant as a metaphor to indicate they will soon grow.

"My teacher said he wished for us to grow as healthily as buds," said a student with a green kerchief. "But he also told me that I could change to the red one if I behaved well."

Xu Jianguo, director of the Xi'an Educational Society, said that although the green scarves were intended to encourage students, the school faltered in its good intentions.

Schools need to be very cautious in drafting incentive systems for students, Xu said.

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