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Survey: Generation gap widens in China
By Tian Xiuzhen (Shanghai Star)
Updated: 2004-09-04 16:41

The generation gap between students and their parents is becoming more significant with only one in five out of a survey group of 1,000 students from 30 key middle schools in Shanghai saying they would reveal their feelings to their parents.

And only 3.3 per cent said they would be willing to reveal their inner thoughts to their teachers.

Most students said they would rather turn to their classmates to vent their real feelings, according to the survey conducted by the Juvenile Research Centre under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

"Too high expectations will lead to our losing hope or confidence; too much interference will arouse our antipathy," said Hu Shuying, chairman of the Students' Union of Yangpu Senior Middle School.

Parents only paid attention to superficial matters such as nutrition, clothes, stationery and performance at school, students said in the survey.

"We try to leap over, but there always lies a kind of unspoken gap," one student said.

Students said parents focused only on their marks and seldom made an efforts to create a safe, harmonious, democratic and colourful atmosphere at home.

Parents did not care to foster in their children a feeling of family intimacy or to cultivate their confidence, independence, self-discipline or capacity to take care of themselves.

In today's educational environment, teachers are positioned to be the authority figure for learning instead of also becoming a good friend in the lives of students.

As only students with good marks in exams are considered the "apples in the eyes" of the teachers, most students think their teachers to be partial and prejudicial.

"I feel sad to hear such remarks," said Yu Yi, a well-known special-class teacher.

She recalled that in the past, teachers and students would play basketball together or comment on novels while sitting on the grass during a break. But today, study and good marks are the only topics of conversation between students and teachers.

"Schools are not only the place where knowledge is imparted but also where students are taught how to be an upright person," Yu said. "The success of a person is not merely determined by intelligence but also by emotional state."

Yang Xiong, director of the Juvenile Research Institute, said the educational system which focuses on examinations should be held to be substantially responsible for the widening generation gap.

"Parents should also reflect their own attitudes carefully and learn more about the inner world of their children so as to be better parents in today's society," he said.

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