Educating and equipping children to face the future with confidence is the aim of every parent. Most go to great lengths to make sure of this, and to meet the needs of such parents experts chart out different kinds of curriculums. But some courses on offer leave one a bit perplexed.
Take, for example, the "mini MBA" courses offered in Chengdu for children aged seven to 11. The aim of the tutorial is to improve children's FQ or financial quotient (their ability to understand and manage money, the institute's director explains). The course offers tips on the value of money, budgeting, investment awareness and related subjects.
It sounds like a well-thought-out and educational programme; the institute has four full-time lecturers, all former English teachers, and even flies in experts from Britain periodically. The 40-odd students enrolled are also taught the relative and absolute value of money through imaginative games, they say.
This may sound a bit old- fashioned, but one feels children of that age are better off not being taught things most adults find a bit hard to master, such as managing money or pyrotechnics, to take another example.
Some may learn the usefulness of this mini MBA quickly, figuring out how to get a few hundred dollars off their parents at the weekend on the pretext of a class assignment. After all, spending habits is part of the course.
No one can doubt the desire of parents to give their children the best options available to hone their skills. That should explain the logic behind the programme in graffiti that started in Singapore recently. It is open to anyone aged 12 or above.
In a country which caned an American teenager for graffiti crime in 1994 despite pleas from the White House, you would think it would be the last course someone would start there. What next? A refrigeration course for children at the North Pole? One can only hope the parents who enrol their children for the course make sure they don't bring back work to be practised at home.
Still, the proof is in the pudding. It will be interesting to see how these children benefit from the mini MBA - and evaluate whether it was worth the 60,000 yuan (HK$74,360) their parents paid.
Alex Lo is on leave