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China

Illustration: Peter C. Espina/GT



How much is spent on a primary school student for a new semester? The answer is at least 110,000 yuan ($16,500) in Beijing - an average of 13,500 yuan for each of at least four extra-curricular classes, 50,000 yuan for the holiday, 5,000 yuan for clothing and 1,500 yuan for stationery and books. Although the cost is appalling for most families even in first-tier cities, parents want to dress up their children to the nines and give them unforgettable holiday experiences. It is understandable that they invest a large amount of money to show their love for children. However, too many extra-curricular classes will only put a heavier burden on pupils. Young children may be arrogant about their clothes. Material superiority does not necessarily mean a successful education. Companionship is more meaningful than money.