From July to September, the six-weeks-summer holiday in China is approaching the end. Children will return to school, while Chinese parents are busy checking bills and breathing with a sigh of relief.
In recent years, Chinese parents tend to spend more money for their children during the summer break. The saying "half a year’s salary couldn't pay for one child’s after-class education in summer" goes viral on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.
“In the last two months, we have spent 30,000 to 40,000 Yuan (US$ 4285 - 5714) for our son,” said Wu Yuan, a young housewife from Anhui province of China. This summer, Wu Yuan just finished her master’s degree and hasn’t been employed yet. All the family cost counts on her husband’s 10,000 Yuan (US$ 1428) salary per month.
How do the Chinese children spend their summer time? How many classes do the children need to attend in summer? What is the driving force behind parents’ generosity? To find out the answers, Rong360 Jianpu technology Inc. (NYSE:JT) released the questionnaire "Sharing Children's Bills – A Survey on Summer Vacation Economy" to collect the parents' voice.
Nearly Half of the Chinese Children demographics Go to Tutoring Center in Summer Break
According to the survey of Rong360 Jianpu technology Inc. (NYSE:JT), 49.04% of respondents choose to let their children attend cram classes, which means nearly 50% of the Chinese children go to tutoring center during summer break. Travel ranks the second with 13.94% and shopping and interest class follows, accounting for 12.98% and 11.54% respectively.
Specifically, in preschool stage, the main expenditure for children is daily consumption. According to the survey, only 13.33% of parents said that cram class is the largest expenditure. Meanwhile, daily shopping accounts for 43.33%.
For the kindergarten stage, the situation has changed to just the opposite. 48.15% of the parents said that the biggest expenditure of their children in summer vacation is cram class. Only 14.81% of parents still said the biggest expense is shopping. The proportion of respondents who register for interest class for their children reaches 22.22%, higher than those who choose shopping.
For children in primary and high school, attending cram classes is quite common. More than 60% of the parents of primary and high school students said that the biggest expenditure for their children in summer vacation is cram class. Primary school parents are particularly keen on this, with 70.73% of respondents saying tutoring is the biggest summer expenditure.
For college students, travel is another big summer expense. Rong360 Jianpu technology Inc. (NYSE:JT) noted that 40% of college students’ parents said travel is the biggest expense during the summer vacation, the same proportion as cram school.
Families in different regions have different spending preference. 57.63% of respondents in first-tier cities said that the biggest spending activity in summer vacation is cram class. In county-level cities and suburban areas, 29.27% of respondents said shopping is the biggest expense, while 21.95% of respondents choose interests class.
PS: First-tier Cities only include Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
Surprisingly, rural parents pay as much attention to cram class as parents from first-tier cities, with 54.55% of respondents saying cram class is the biggest expense spent on children in summer vacation. "Many rural parents are migrant workers and send their children to the city or county for classes during the summer vacation." Yan Ziping said, who is a teacher in a village school in Quanzhou, Fujian Provence.
Rong360 Jianpu technology Inc. (NYSE:JT) found that 23.56% of respondents said they did not let their children participate in any classes and do not plan to do so, despite the fact that attending cram school has become mainstream. This group is mainly the parents of preschool children and college students. More than 40% of the respondents in both groups said they do not plan to let their children attend classes.
The Reason Behind This
Why do the Chinese parents cram their children’s summer time with so many classes? According to the survey, 48.43% of the respondents believe that "children should have interests and specialties" and classes can "enrich their spare time in summer vacation". 43.4% of the parents think that "children's academic performance needs to be improved".
Parents are also paying more and more attention to children’s feelings, 32.08% of respondents said that they choose interests classes because their child likes it, and only 21.38% of the parent believe that "children cannot lose at the early stage of their life".
It is interesting that things are slightly different in first-tier cities and other places. In first-tier cities, 61% of parents believe that "children should have interests and talents", according to the survey by Rong360 Jianpu technology Inc. (NYSE:JT). Also 63% of parents think that "children have too much spare time durinh their summer break, so they should take classes to enrich their vacation".
While in townships and rural areas, the situation is just the opposite. Only 13.04% of respondents believe that "children should have interests and specialties" and "enrich their spare time in summer vacation".
Chinese Middle-Class Family Cares More about Children’s Thoughts
Chinese parents’ different educational background and income level also influence their children’s summer plan. The lower the parents' educational and annual income level, the more they value their children's school achievements. The higher the parents' educational background and annual income, the more important they believe it is for their children to have interests and specialties, and they tend to make their children's summer vacation full.
For parents with master's degree or above, 85.71% of them think that "children should have interests and specialties", the one who choose "children's academic performance need to be improved" and "children should not lose at the beginning" are 35.71% and 28.57%. Among the parents with junior high school education or below, 64.71% think that their children's academic performance need to be improved, while only 5.88% think that their children should have interests and specialties.
Interestingly, Rong360 Jianpu technology Inc. (NYSE:JT) survey found that middle class parents with a monthly income of 10,000-20,000RMB (roughly US$1400-2800 ) cares more about their children's opinions. Among middle class parents, 43.59% of the respondents sign up for cram classes for their children because "the children like it personally".
Suburban Parents Show More Interest on Oversea Study Tour than First-tier Cites
Among all kinds of the classes, the most popular ones are English and Mathematical Olympics, with nearly half of the respondents choosing such courses. Especially in first-tier cities, more than 60% of respondents said their children have taken classes in those subjects.
Children in first-tier cities are also active in sports training, accounting for more than 40% of the participants. Among all the sports training, swimming is the most popular one, chosen by 68% of respondents. 30% of respondents choose taekwondo, 20% choose basketball, 16 percent choose table tennis and only 4% choose soccer.
As for performance art classes, dance ranks the first with 71.88% of respondents choosing it. 28.13% of respondents choose vocal, while only 9.38% choose traditional Chinese folk arts.
In music training, piano is most people’s choice. 61.54% of respondents said that their children have participated in piano classes. Mr. Wang from Beijing also arranged piano training for his child. He said he spent tens of thousands of RMB on piano for his child to practice at home.
However, overseas study tour, which have become increasingly popular in recent years, is still a minority project, with only 2.84% of respondents choosing it. It is worth mentioning that 11.11% of respondents in county-level cities and suburban areas have participated in the study tour, while the figure is only 1.06% in first-tier cities.
"The children are too young," said Mr. Wang, a ten-year-old girl’s father. "They can't remember anything, and the trip is too short. It's hard to tell what effect it will have on them." The high cost of overseas study tour is also one of the reasons for his reluctance to participate. "My child’s teacher has organized a study tour abroad once. Each student was charged 20,000 RMB (roughly 2857 US$) for a week's study tour. If the expenses of parents are included, the cost would be around 50,000 RMB (roughly US$7142). It’s too much,” he said.