China / Education

Regretting a 'blind' decision

By Cao Yin (China Daily) Updated: 2016-10-11 07:52

Beijinger Zheng Bochao sent his 10-year-old daughter on a 14-day study visit to Canada during this year's summer vacation.

I didn't think twice when my daughter brought home a message that her school had organized a students' visit to Canada in April.

At the time, I had no idea whether the school had an international department that handled overseas trips, or research how the project was organized. I asked the teachers some basic questions, but didn't sign a contract or any other legal documents.

Occasionally, I had qualms about the safety of the trip, but eventually my concerns faded.

Fortunately, it was a safe trip, and the study tour, rooms and food conformed to what had been promised. However, if something had gone wrong I would have been deeply remorseful. Also, the lack of legal documentation meant I could not have challenged the school in court if it had failed to deliver what it had promised.

I contacted the teachers all the time during the trip, hoping to learn what the children were doing, including what they ate and where they were staying. I also asked my daughter to send photos or videos via the WeChat instant-message service - after all, safety is always the top priority. I was so relieved when my daughter came home that I really didn't pay much attention to how she was taught or what she learned on the trip.

After she came home, I realized that I had made a "blind" decision because I didn't take the trouble to learn about similar visits arranged by the school or the relevant government policies and laws.

If my child is given an opportunity for long-term study overseas, or similar projects, I will think twice and be more careful about the legal aspects.

It's essential that schools provide parents with specific information about study tours overseas, which would help us to understand the responsibilities of the organizers.

I think exchanges or visits organized by schools may be acceptable in the future, but I will not allow my daughter to participate in any overseas activities organized by private educational institutions.

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