Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Ease education burden to spur two-child policy

By Chu Zhaohui (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-18 08:13

Ease education burden to spur two-child policy

A boy with his younger brother. [Photo by Zhai Xiaoyan/Provided to]

A bold family planning policy change was made at the recent Fifth Plenum of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee, which would allow all couples to have two children.

But many doubt the policy change would encourage more couples to have a second child. For one, the rising cost of raising a child, including the significant increase in education expenditure, has made many couples reluctant to have two children, with some deciding to not have even one. Education expenses comprise the largest single part of the cost of raising a child in cities. So the cost of education for a second child would double couples' burdens, the skeptics argue.

It is true that the rising education cost for a child, from elementary school to university, is the most important investment most Chinese families make. It is also true that the cost of raising two children will be much higher than bringing up only one. But that is not the whole story. The marginal cost of bringing up a second child can be low, because a family can fall back on many of the things it has already bought for the first child to provide for the younger sibling. As such, a two-child couple doesn't have to spend all over again on many things - except for food, education and some other necessities - to have what many believe an ideal family.

Siblings, older and younger both, are also a family's educational resources, for they provide each other company and help each other in the learning process. Their mutual interactions are a precious source of experience during their growing-up years, which is something a single child misses.

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