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August 20, 2009

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Home » Metro » Education

Go figure: Grandparents in class

GRANDPARENTS are sitting in the same vacation classes with grandchildren in an attempt to help them with advanced math problems.

The trend emerges as some children fail parents' high expectations in the subject dubbed both "Math Olympiad" and "Math Acrobatics."

A lot of children become bored and fall asleep in summer classes and this is where grandparents lend a hand.

For example, Ni Yunkai, 11, a Grade Five elementary school student, yawned during a lecture in the advanced math class, while his 68-year-old grandmother Ni Bingru, who sat behind the children, listened and took notes.

"It looks like I am the student studying hard and he is waiting there to pick me up after class," said Ni Bingru.

Her grandson takes a "Math Olympiad" class every Sunday morning but displays scant interest and sometimes dozes off.

So Ni Bingru gives him extra lessons at home.

"I know that little kids are reluctant to receive extra lessons on weekends as they suffer too much schooling pressure these days," she said. "But learning more at an early age is good for them."

Advanced math classes were once used to find those truly gifted with numbers but many young children are now tackling the classes.

A bonus is that a pass gains extra credits for college entrance exams.

"Many young parents are too busy with work and the burden of overseeing the kids' lessons as well as taking care of their lives has fallen upon the grandparents' generation," said an official surnamed Li of training institution Xue'ersi.

Li said that more than one out of five students' grandparents came to learn the advanced math with them in the summer vacation.

Yu Hong, an education expert at East China Normal University, is concerned that the elderly may be burdened too much while kids' dependence on them is growing.

"Summer vacation is always a good time for social interaction," she said. "Parents should spend more time taking their children outdoors instead of enclosing them doing math problems."


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