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Should boys start school after girls?

By Luo Wangshu  (China Daily)

17:36, October 10, 2012

A professor has suggested that boys should start school one or two years later than girls, which has heated up debate on tolerance and discrimination in the education system.

Wu Bihu, a professor from the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences of Peking University, suggested on his micro blog at the end of September that girls should start school at 6 to 7 years old, but boys could start at 7 to 8.

Wu believes boys and girls differ in their stages of mental development.

All 6-year-old Chinese children are required to start school, though in some areas with poor conditions the starting age can be 7.

"The Chinese education system needs to improve and allow various education and evaluation methods," Wu wrote.

His questioning of the standard has been echoed by many parents.

Wang Mian, the mother of an 11-year-old boy in Beijing, believes that the starting age of school should be based on individual factors, rather than gender.

"Some boys are doing great, too," she said.

"I have to admit that girls do better than boys at a certain age," Wang said.

At her son's school, "girls are stars at school, providing better performance on all aspects, including language development and even logic," Wang added.

"I don't think boys are not as good as girls, they just need more time, and as parents we can wait patiently."

Wang also said that schools are aware of the differences and can be more patient with boys.

However, she said, if boys start school later, they will also finish college and enter society two years later.

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