When I was in Ningbo, I heard this story – which made me wondered.
As we know, China as a country, is going through rapid changes, one aspects of it, is her real estate values in all major city centers.
A couple in their thirties from Ningbo left their very young son age of six in a local boarding school months at a stretch, both went to Dalian ( a northern city about two hours of air time from Ningbo) to work on real estate projects.
I am not sure if this young lad has immediate family in town or not. Last I heard was, in weekends, the parents have made arrangement that the boy would be taken in by one of the school teachers. It for all intends and purposes, the teacher became the foster mother of the boy, bear in mind, nothing is never in black and white there, no agreement is ever signed, just an verbal agreement, a nice gift would in the offing when the parents came into town for the annual festivities.
I wonder what psychological blockage would the young boy developed in his young mind, why my parents don’t want me to be around. There are of course local rules and regulations in Dalian perhaps the young lad’s parents have to go through to get him in a local school. But that should not be the sole reason that the young boy has to be separated from his folks.
My local friends have one word regarding this phenomenon – Money. To the “after 80’s” – those who were born after the Eighties – Money speaks for everything. And some of them unfortunately sincerely believe that money can and will help achieve every conceivable goal in life, in this case, this set of parents believe that the boarding school in Ningbo can, and it has so far helped them – bringing up their precious son – for a price.
There are a few boarding schools in and around Ningbo City – from Grade One to Grade Ten. Monthly school fees run a range of RMB three to five thousands dollars. But the schools all have waiting lists.
Fast forward to North America – I have a few local contacts in the education system – namely teachers – some have ESL credentials – so they are in frequent contacts with immigrant parents – given Vancouver is a very metropolitan city, high on the desirable list of the newly rich from China.
One of the frequent asked questions is – “what could be done to improve my child’s English ability?”
Teacher:” Well, encourages your son/daughter to mingle with other English speaking kids after school hours. “
Parent:” Umm, we do not have too many English speaker friends in our circle of friends.”
Teacher,” May be then, join some activities with the local community center?”
Parent:” Any other suggestions? Any program that … perhaps we can enroll him/her in?”
Teacher,” You mean all by the kid him/herself?”
Parent,” Yes.” Nodding.
Teacher,” I think parents have to play a part in a child growing up, don’t you think?”
Parent,” But, is there anything else?? “(Sounded a bit exasperated)
Teacher,” Get involved with your child’s life!”
(Guess the teacher sensed the parents really want to know if there is any magic pill/formula that money can buy, just take one and magically the child can be assimilated into the new environment)
Get involved with your child – the school system is not a baby sitting service. Not in China, not in Canada, not anywhere.