Chinese kindergarten asks children how much their homes cost

Backlash after class of children are asked: ‘How much did your family pay for your flat and what is its market value now?’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 September, 2018, 3:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 September, 2018, 9:30pm

A kindergarten in southern China has come under fire for appearing to quiz children on their family finances.

A questionnaire distributed to a class at BUJI The Dream of Children Kindergarten in Shenzhen on Friday included questions such as “does your family own the flat you live in, or rent it?”, “what is the floor plan of the flat?” and “how much did your family pay for the flat and what is its market value now?”, according to photographs of the document circulating online.

One parent posted a photo of the document with the comment: “Is this questionnaire really for children to understand the residential area they live in, or to pry on my financial capability?”

The questionnaire went viral online, with many asking whether the objective was background research on the families’ wealth.

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“Does the kindergarten want to treat children differently, or want to ask for favours?” one person commented. Another said it made the kindergarten look snobbish.

A public apology from the kindergarten was posted on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, on Tuesday by Shenzhen Longgang District Education Bureau, which oversees the kindergarten. It said the class had designed the questionnaire as a parent-child project to learn about their residential area and how it had changed in the past decade, and nothing more.

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“We feel we failed in the kindergarten’s administration and the teacher was very insensitive about privacy,” the kindergarten’s statement said. “We hereby apologise.”

The education bureau said it had ordered the kindergarten to stop the exercise and apologise to parents, and told all kindergartens to be cautious about similar activities and consult parents more.

The kindergarten declined an interview request from the South China Morning Post.

The questionnaire was issued in the same week that another kindergarten in Shenzhen booked a pole dancer for its opening-day performance to children and parents. The headmaster of that kindergarten has been sacked.