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Morals Matter more than Grades

Parents in Shanghai are more concerned about their children's moral education than what type of grades they earn at school, a survey published yesterday by the Shanghai Women's Federation indicates.

The federation and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences spent a year conducting the survey. They interviewed parents and children from 986 families.

The survey indicates local parents are attaching more importance to moral education and the cultivation of good habits than study scores as 52.8 percent of the questioned parents said the development of proper virtues was very important to them. Just over 18 percent said cultivating good habits was the most important, while 15.1 percent said they care most about the grades their kids earn at school.

In the past, Chinese parents tended to judge their children by how well they did at school.

Now, many parents care more about their children's mental and physical health, the survey suggests.

Nearly half of the parents questioned said they felt other parents pay more attention to their children's grades than they do, but they paid more attention to their kid's values than other parents.

"This indicates under China's exam-oriented education system, parents and children are bearing high pressure. We should continue to promote comprehensive education," said Yang Xiong, a sociologist who specializes in children's problems.

Parents do still expect their children to go to university and get a good education. Almost 42 percent of those surveyed said they expect their child to get a bachelor's degree, while another 23.6 percent said they expect their son or daughter to earn a master's degree. Just over 16 percent expect their child to one day earn a doctorate.

Parents also said they want their children to learn about topics not traditionally taught in schools, such as budgeting, how to use the Internet, and sex education.

About 41 percent of the questioned parents said they often teach their kids about money, 30 percent educate their children about drugs, and 17.8 percent talk to their kids about sex and AIDS.

(Shanghai Daily November 22, 2005)

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