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Necessity is the mother of education

(China Daily)

16:10, May 13, 2013

A new phrase, pin ma, literally "competition among mothers", has become popular among Chinese parents. But if another phrase, pin die, means "competition of fathers' wealth and power", pin ma signifies "competition of mothers' toughness and ideas about their children's education".

Chinese families have always accorded priority to children's education in which competition has played an important role, but now there is an added element: competition among mothers. Many people today believe that the success or failure of children in schools depends on mothers. Which means the more time and energy a mother invests in her child the more likely it is to succeed in its studies.

In today's society, a child's education, to a large extent, depends on its mother. Competition among mothers begins as soon as their children enter primary school, in some cases kindergartens. Industrious mothers seem to know how their children are performing in their studies, and guide and even tutor them at home.

Such mothers frequently communicate and discuss their children's test scores with teachers and other parents, and some consult reference books to help their wards. Many of them even help their children make friends and, in some cases, decide which schoolmates they should play with. A "good mother" is expected to be a responsible, caring and considerate parent, as well as a full-time escort, teacher and even overseer.

The unprecedented interest that mothers take in their children's education today and the efforts they make to help them in their studies reflect the changing social mindset.

Since Chinese people's living standards have improved remarkably in recent years, single-child families have become very sensitive about their children's education. Economic, social and cultural elements play important roles in a child's growth, and though all parents want their children to get the best education, only some can afford it. Many ordinary parents believe they can overcome their lack of resources by personally guiding and tutoring their children to succeed in competitions.

Education, however, is not only about securing high scores in exams and getting admitted to top universities. It is also about developing a sound personality, a positive mindset and the ability to cope with changing situations. So by paying too much attention to their children's studies, many mothers (and fathers) may be ignoring their all-round development, which is what society demands.

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