A banner ad for interview training to help young children get accepted by kindergartens or primary schools has created an uproar among parents and teachers, Sky Post reported Thursday.
Many netizens have blasted the advertisement by Ever Learning Educational Center, which features a picture of a little girl crying.
The headline reads in Chinese: “You don’t like competition? Competition will come and get you anyway.”
The ad has been criticized as being harsh, insensitive and depriving children of their innocence.
The training classes advertised by the tutorial center target toddlers aged 18 months and up.
The ad urges parents to act sooner than later to make their children the kings and queens of interviews.
One internet user posted that the ad is highly disturbing, calling instead for adults to let children enjoy a happy childhood the way it should be.
The post was shared more than 6,000 times in just one day.
Some netizens said it should not take long before such businesses roll out training classes for babies still in the mother’s womb.
Ever Learning charges HK$2,300 for 10 hours of interview-related training, including story-telling and question-answering skills.
Similar classes are fetching between HK$2,000 and HK$4,500 for 10 to 12 sessions.
A blogger named Mandy who focuses on parenting in her blog said children should not be forced to take such classes, as an 18-month-old child cannot even sit still let alone be able to concentrate enough to take lessons.
A representative for the tutorial center said it was only presenting parents with the truth, stressing that the ability to handle interviews is key to admission to well-known kindergartens and schools.
Hong Kong Kindergarten Association president Mary Tong said some parents sign their children up for these classes in the fear that their kids might otherwise lag behind those who are taking them.
“Overtraining might be counterproductive,” Tong said.
Some kindergarten teachers said excessive training for school admission interviews can backfire by making the children seem overly diplomatic and unwilling to say what they really think. Points are often deducted in such cases.
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