Focus on children's emotions, say experts

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 May, 2005, 12:00am

Mainland children are getting healthier and better educated, a government report has found, but experts say the focus should now turn to emotional and psychological development.

A nationwide report on children's development by the National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council showed that the infant mortality rate dropped to 0.255 per cent in 2003 from the 0.27 per cent in 2001, CCTV reported.

The malnutrition rate among children under five years also fell from 3.1 per cent in 2001, to 2.7 per cent in 2003. More than 97 per cent of children have been vaccinated against four diseases.

The report, released yesterday ahead of International Children's Day on Wednesday, also found higher rates of primary school enrolment, at 98.65 per cent. Only 1.2 per cent of children had dropped out by Primary Five and 8.04 per cent left before they finished junior high school.

The report did not mention when or how the study was conducted.

While committee staff credited the booming economy for the improved health and education statistics, Peking University sociology professor Xia Xueluan said the country's money-making ethos had diluted the importance of psychological and cultural education.

'Of course, the education system is well-developed now. But schools now only focus on teaching knowledge. They think it's important for students to get high scores but at the same time they ignore the children's all-round development,' Professor Xia said.

He said more emphasis should be given to the development of children's cultural and emotional education.

Shi Fumao , a lawyer at the Chinese Juvenile Rights Protection Centre, a Beijing-based NGO, said today's children were also worried by the increasing rate of divorce among parents.