Respect Children's Choice to Study Science or Liberal Arts

January 8, 2014
Editor: Frank Zhao
Respect Children's Choice to Study Science or Liberal Arts
Yu Dan is a professor of media studies at Beijing Normal University. []
Parents should respect their children's choice to study science, engineering or liberal arts, says Yu Dan, a famous professor at Beijing Normal University.

"It is the greatest respect for parents to allow their children to become who they are," said Yu, who rose to fame in 2006 for her unique interpretation of The Analects of Confucius on China Central Television program Lecture Room.

During an interview with major Chinese Internet portal, Yu weighed into the education debate about the differing value young minds place on science and liberal arts.

"Some children love movies, art, dancing, history or archeology, and some will view mathematics as a form of art and enjoy chemistry experiments best. Growth means becoming who you are through all types of study," Yu said.

"I believe that you have to allow people to do this so that they can become successful. Parents should realize this so that their children can grow up much healthier."

Since 1949, China's education system has required high school students to choose whether they study science or liberal arts subjects in the second grade of senior high school. This decision often defines what majors they will ultimately study at university.

Many students choose to study science- and engineering-related subjects due to China's emphasis on cultivating talents suited to driving economic development. Fewer students subsequently choose to study liberal arts-related subjects, which are generally considered less likely to land graduates well-paid jobs.

However, this situation is expected to change as China plans reforms to its education system. In the future, senior high students won't be required to choose elective subjects, according to Liu Limin, vice minister of China's Ministry of Education.

(Source: and Xinhua/Translated and edited by

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