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New 10-day Program for 'Elite' Youngsters
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A new training program aimed at young people and billed as a "cradle of future entrepreneurs" has stirred debate among parents and experts, mostly due to its 66,000-yuan (US$8,700) registration fee.


The course, which comprises three 10-day summer camps held over a period of three years, is for 15-20-year-olds. A maximum of 40 students will be admitted and 27 places have already been filled.


"In my opinion it's more about commercial hype than real training," Sun Baohong, deputy director of the Youth Institute at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), said.


However, not all parents think the scheme is overpriced.


Local businessman Wang Yiqian said he would be sending his two children to the camp.


"The price is high but acceptable. Maybe the children will learn a lot and get a clearer idea of what they want to do in the future.


"I hope they will one day take over my companies," he said.


The program has been launched by Wise Advisers Group, a Shanghai-based training and consulting company.


It said the course was aimed at "15-to-20-year-olds from entrepreneurs' families who have a healthy body and mind, and at least a middle school education".


The first 10-day camp runs from July 28 to August 6 and will be held at the former headquarters of the Huangpu Military Academy, China's first military school of the modern era.


Su Jiancheng, president of Wise, said: "The program aims to shape personalities. It is a rigid, compact training program full of lectures and missions under military supervision, from morning till night. The fee also covers the cost of accommodation, meals and clothing."


Over the 10 days, the students will hear from a number of experts including the training company's former president, Yu Shiwei, who was named one of the Top 10 Most Charming Trainers for Chinese Enterprises for 2005.


But Sun remains skeptical of the program's real value.


"The camp could lead to the youngsters mistakenly seeing themselves as somehow part of an elite group that is superior to the rest of society, and that is not good for their personal growth. I don't believe it is possible to develop one's personality very much in just 10 days."


(China Daily July 5, 2007)

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