Is cram school necessary ?
Cram schools are popular in many Asian countries. It is interesting that people do believe the effect and do not want their children fail. In Taiwan, we have entrance exams for high schools and colleges. Many kids go to cram schools after class and come back home before bed time. Most of people would like to study at public schools rather than private schools. Although some private high schools are famous, due to the reason that they could cultivate students with competence; public schools are still full of resources and funding here. Alumnus usually do not donate money to colleges. Two or three decades ago, students needed to study even harder and the college entrance rate was very low. People who went to colleges were considered elites by that time. Now, almost everyone can go to college, and lots of new schools are prevalent. Cram schools are not just for children, there are many of courses target to adults, including prep-exams for potential public servants, cooking classes, plant potting, etc.
I don’t know why students must go to cram themselves after class; after all, it is a hard working and time consuming. “If everyone else goes, I should. Or I will fail.” This is the common metric of thinking here. So, the competition between cram schools are fierce. Some students even refused to focus on what teachers taught in school, they preferred staying at cram schools with much difficult handouts to work on. However, not every case was a good ending. Few years ago, there was a girl who was raped by her own cram school teacher and she committed suicide even the teacher fled to China. Unfortunately, this young girl had no one to talk because the adults had never believed the teacher would do such thing. She just kept her diary and wondered why her adults had never taught her about sex education.
Except these cram schools, students who want to study abroad could take lessons here for SAT, TOEFL, GRE, etc. The teachers were usually those who have been to the West as students, but not limited to locals. As long as teachers could speak English and Chinese, it would be fine. They could provide their experiences and help choose the school, but not everyone is able to trace people when we are abroad. Teaching at public schools is another form of system and not everyone is able to get in, so the cram school became the easier place for foreigners to join. SAT or TOEFL sounded difficult for us at first time, but after so many times of practicing and testing, some people could get over with. Ultimately, people who tested for hundreds of times must know the best.
Each time, when politicians fight with each other whether we should let our students study Chinese history as part of world history or as the 70% of our textbooks. It raises controversies and political ideologies. And that is another war.