As many as 60.4 percent of Chinese parents sign their children up for extracurricular classes and pay an average of 9,211 yuan ($1,316) a year on their children's after-school education, which makes up 12.84 percent of the family income, while 16.79 percent of families spend more than 20 percent of their income on after-school education, according to a 2019 children's development report released by China National Children's Center and Social Science Academy Press of China on August 20.
According to the report, extracurricular classes have become an important part of children's after-school lives. Children spend one and a half hours a day doing homework, and a total of 3.4 hours in extracurricular classes. On weekends, the time is 3.2 hours.
During summer holidays, 58 percent of children registered for extracurricular classes, and the proportion is 34.2 percent for the National Day Holiday (October 1 to 7).
This year's report focuses on children's lives after school. During the research, a survey sent out 14,874 questionnaires to students aged 3 to 15 and their parents in Beijing, Guangzhou and eight other cities across the country, covering 174 schools.
The report shows that the time students spend on study is decreasing, while more time is being spent on electronic devices.
On weekends, children spend 78.07 minutes on homework, 49.88 minutes on entertaining themselves, 49.1 minutes in public venues, 38.3 minutes on electronic devices and 37.08 minutes on reading.
Among all the children who signed up for extracurricular classes, 66.5 percent of them choose tutorial classes on school days, followed by arts, sports and science classes.
The report points out that because of China's exam-oriented education system, 44.39 percent of children choose tutorial classes to improve their grades, and 10.58 percent of students choose tutorial classes to gain knowledge ahead of schedule.
The report shows that 60 percent of parents and 59.3 percent of children are satisfied with their lives after school, and more than 90 percent of parents believe that after-school education is important for their children's development. Most parents and children believe that after-school education helps students broaden their horizons rather than gain knowledge or information.
"Parents know the importance of cultivating children's hobbies and interests," said He Ling, a professor at China Youth University of Political Studies, but added that "as children grow, study and examinations place an increasing burden on them, and after-school education occupies most of a child's life after school, which influences their eyesight and health."