College does not begin in Kindergarten

Sir Ken Robinson. In this speech he mocks and derides the process, extremely prevalent in Hong Kong, of “interviewing” 3 and 4 year olds for kindergarten. “College does not begin in Kindergarten” he points out. “Kindergarten begins in Kindergarten”.

But as we just heard in this last session, there’s such competition now to get to kindergarten, to get to the right kindergarten, that people are being interviewed for it at three. Kids sitting in front of unimpressed panels, you know, with their resumes, (Laughter) flipping through and saying, “Well, this is it?” (Laughter) (Applause) “You’ve been around for 36 months, and this is it?” (Laughter) “You’ve achieved nothing, commit. Spent the first six months breastfeeding, the way I can see it.” (Laughter) See, it’s outrageous as a conception, but it attracts people.
Absolutely right. The international schools here are a business. They are looking for kids who will stay with them for the rest of their academic career, ensuring that each class is full and more importantly, funded. It’s hard to walk away from the interview process without a bad taste in your mouth–this school really doesn’t care if my kid is different or special. They care only that my kid fits in their machine as cog of certain abilities and skills. Unfortunately I live in a ridiculous place right now filled with insane parents, cramming dozens of classes into their toddler’s schedules and primping and priming them for the interview process. So it’s off to yet another interview tomorrow where I generally just tell my son “be yourself” while muttering under my breath “and tell them to go fuck themselves”. Our oldest got into his kindergarten “safety school” so we’ve got a backup plan if the international schools don’t come through. The very fact I have a “safety school” for kindergarten just shows how the whole process is now absurd has become. Chalk this up on the list of “why I don’t like living in Hong Kong” (yes, there are positive and negative lists we all have in our heads). ]]>

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