Violence in Chinese Schools on the Rise
Violence in Chinese schools is growing at alarming rates as teachers and parents continue to believe coercive methods are the best way to push children to better results, state press reported Monday.
Violence against school children is on the rise as competition for limited opportunities for higher education sharpens and despite modern educational training for increasing numbers of teachers, an editorial in the Worker's Daily said.
The editorial documented several cases of student abuse, including a recent case where a student in a branch school of the Shaolin Martial Arts School in central Henan province was beaten to death by his teacher for failing to follow orders while cleaning the dormitory.
In another case a teacher in eastern Zhejiang province cut a finger off of a six-year old student for "playfully stealing" the shoes of his younger brother, the paper said.
"If there were only a few teachers doing this kind of stuff, we could say that these were rare incidents, but in the last few years this kind of thing has not stopped and has led us to reflect on a hidden social reason for this type of behavior," the paper said.
It blamed both parents and teachers for turning a blind eye to the growing violence and for "believing that beating is the same as extracting filial piety or that hitting and kicking can get good test scores."
Invariably it was China's education system which was pressuring schools and parents to raise the level of education so students could get into better schools and universities and be guaranteed good jobs in their adult life, it said.
"The root of the problem is in the shortcomings of the education system, which to a certain extent encourages these anomalies to grow," the article said.
"If we can't accept this and push for reform, then it will be difficult to prevent more of this occurring," it said.
Although only some three percent of Chinese high school graduates go on to college, competition for entry into "elite schools" starts almost immediately after children enter elementary schools, putting extreme pressure on teachers, parents and children.
In recent years, the pressure has risen as the government calls for "science and technology" to invigorate the nation.
Meanwhile, China's education expenditure in 1999 was only 2.7 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), despite a 1996 education law which calls for spending in 2000 to reach four percent of GDP, Xinhua news agency said Monday.
Government officials had told AFP that education spending for the year 2000 would fall to around two percent of GDP – BEIJING (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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