Opinion / From the Press

Curb craze for school districts

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-25 07:12

The housing market in many cities has been declining. But the situation in urban areas that have "good" schools is just the opposite, with housing prices continuing to rise at a frenetic pace. This contradictory development can be arrested only if the authorities reallocate education resources more fairly, says an article on Excerpts:

A 10-square-meter room near a "key" primary school in Beijing can cost up to 300,000 yuan ($48,174) per sq m, which is beyond the imagination of most Chinese people. But despite the high rates, some Beijing residents have to fight off many rivals to get such rooms (or houses) to keep their children in (or get them admitted to) nearby "key" primary and middle schools.

The imbalanced distribution of education resources is primarily to blame for the rise in housing prices in so-called school districts. And this phenomenon is not limited to Beijing. The education resources gap between cities and districts has been getting wider across China. For the countless number of parents who want to get their children admitted to one of the limited number of "good" schools, buying a house near one such school seems to be the only solution to their problem.

Most Chinese parents are obsessed with "good" schools because they take it for granted that getting their children admitted to such a school is a ticket to their bright future. This may be true to some extent, but the fact is that good grades and outstanding school education alone do not shape a child's future. What is of utmost importance is the child's endeavor and willingness to learn.

Unfortunately, some education policies have helped stoke the craze. For instance, the Ministry of Education recently issued a policy that says students in Beijing and 18 other major cities don't have to take the college entrance exam in 2015 if they are enrolled in schools near their homes. Such policies, ostensibly aimed at bridging the regional gap in education resources, are nevertheless misdirected because they force parents to take desperate measures to ensure their children have a bright future.

The chaotic housing markets in so-called school districts can be blamed on the oversight of the education department, unfair allocation of education resources, irrational thinking of parents and media hype. Therefore, it's time the government took measures to rectify the situation and improve the education system.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily 04/25/2014 page9)

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