China bans kindergarten palm assessments

China has banned schools from reading kindergarteners’ palms — at parents’ expense — to predict academic potential.

Although many parents in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province, eagerly brought their children to be tested, some later complained about the high cost and raised questions about the testing method, which test-givers said could reveal the children’s aptitude in music, mathematics and languages.

Three kindergartens in the province charged 1,200 yuan ($190) per person for the tests. That’s a lot of money for the average Chinese family. That palm reading could be a viable racket says something about parents’ anxiety for their children and willingness to invest in them. The one-child policy must ramp up the usual parental angst. If my kid has dull palms, should I defy the authorities and go for two?

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  1. For what it’s worth the one-child policy’s quietly being dropped. The process has been under weigh for a while now but dropping the policy is, understandably, embarressing and liable to result in more then a little in the way of hard feelings.

    Interestingly, the article doesn’t mention whether the schools in question are government schools or private schools. There are private schools in China although it’s not well know and they tend to be off the beaten path.

    I suppose that, in the absence of information to the contrary, the schools are government schools and in “offering” the tests the people who run the schools were engaging in a bit of non-free enterprise using their authority to run an extortion racket.