Education experts have expressed concern at moves by some parents in Hong Kong to send their children to tutorial classes at a very young age, sometimes even before the kids are enrolled in primary school.
Pushing the kids to tutorial classes to early could be detrimental to their well-being, the experts warned.
A private tutor with six years of teaching experience told Sky Post that a woman had requested her to give lessons to an 18-month-old boy.
The tutor, who gave her surname as Lee, said she was asked to use flash cards to teach the child simple Chinese characters as well as English words.
The mother is said to have requested two lessons a week, each lasting one-and-a-half hours, offering to pay an hourly rate of HK$300.
Parents could be hoping that some early lessons will help their children fare better in kindergarten admissions.
Lee said she taught a five-year-old some English and dictation, and that mainland parents had also asked her to teach their children Cantonese.
Some parents were going too far in pushing their children, the tutor said.
There are some people who think the kindergarten curriculum is “too easy”, so the children should learn more by taking additional tutorial classes, she said.
Another tutor, a young person identified as Zoe, said she was asked by a mother to ensure that her 5-year-old is able to read and understand English perfectly.
The mother was said to have complained that many of her son’s peers had already completed reading the entire set of Harry Potter books while her child lacked concentration when reading English books.
A person from Elite Tutors, a tutorial teacher referral agency, was quoted as saying that there are an average of 200 requests for tutors for kindergarten students each month, representing an increase of up to 30 percent when compared to two years ago.
Kwok Chor-kiu, chairperson of the Tai Po and North District Early Childhood Education (ECE) Principal Association, said there is no need for tutorial classes for kindergarten students.
Some parents are simply being overly pushy, ignoring their children’s feelings and the pressure they face, Kwok said.
What the parents don’t realize is that they may be actually harming their children, the academic said.
“It is like feeding a child a chicken drumstick before he or she has any teeth,” Kwok was quoted as saying.
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