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Children in China

Our children do not need a glowing CV

  • It is the youngsters who suffer as parents spend money and effort to profile their children’s achievements – even at the tender age of five
PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 November, 2018, 8:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 November, 2018, 8:40pm

When children who can barely walk already start building a curriculum vitae, something is clearly amiss. The trend may appeal to those parents who believe self-promotion has become increasingly important nowadays. But it only adds to the pressures faced by the younger generation, who are already having to cope with a competitive and stressful education system. The latest case involves a five-year-old boy in Shanghai. His glowing CV includes achievements such as swimming, drawing and playing the piano, along with his heavily packed weekly schedule of activities and a world map showing his travel history. It also gives a detailed breakdown of his traits. For instance, under the heading “withstanding defeat”, it reads: “If I get told off, I can quickly adjust my mood and actively dedicate myself to my studies.”

The details, captured and shared online by a mainland blogger, quickly fuelled debate on social media. While some said his CV would put even many adults to shame, others lamented that it was a reflection of modern social ills.

CVs for children: Chinese boy, 5, has ‘rich and varied experience’

It has to be wondered what is to become of someone who is so used to self-promotion at such a young age. Even if a child is truly gifted in many ways, there is a limit as to how much one can take on. The mainland education system is incredibly competitive. That is why there is pressure on parents to push their children to try a wide range of activities in order to impress teachers and schools. But whether this is good for their physical and mental development is another matter.

In Hong Kong, there is similar pressure to get children into good schools. Some parents are prepared to pay thousands of dollars for classes that prepare toddlers for interviews to enter a nursery. The making of children’s portfolios has also become a profitable business.

As long as the competitive education system remains unchanged, there is always pressure to choose such avenues. But it would do well for parents to resist. After all, many of them managed to get by just fine without a good CV at a young age. There is more to child development than just building an impressive portfolio.