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Kindergarten University

By Faron Kwami (Beijing Review)

15:20, April 23, 2012

(Li Shigong)

As a foreign teacher (in Chongqing Nanfang Translators College of Sichuan International Studies University) in China, I expect some mild culture shock, some mild misunderstandings. But instead I got a big shock and possibly a big misunderstanding in the form of the kindergarten university. No, this educational institution won't appear in your English dictionary, but it does appear in China.

I was shocked when my fellow foreign teacher described my university's students (about 18-22 years old) as "college children." I was just as shocked when my students described their peers as children.

In a kindergarten university, the students act like children. They reject responsibility. They do not want to be educated in class, but they want to be entertained. They want to hear funny stories about foreign culture. They spend most of their time playing online computer games and watching movies on the Internet. But like children they get bored very easily and cannot concentrate. So in class, they compulsively play on their mobile phones. They constantly seek attention. And like a spoiled brat in a kindergarten, they complain when they do not get what they want.

A kindergarten university is private. The owners of the university build the school to make money to fund their main business. They aim solely to maximize revenue by maximizing the number of enrolled students. The quality of the students does not matter. The quality of the teachers does not matter. The quality of the education does not matter. The future impact on China does not matter. What matters is that the "children" are happy and stay. And to keep them happy, you have to make it very easy for them to study and pass exams.

The Chinese Government wants to sustain growth. But how can they sustain growth if intelligence is transferred to the east coast? Businesses that are set up in west China complain that the people are like children—they do not work hard, their qualifications are meaningless, and they complain and want high salaries.

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