Source：Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date：2017-3-14-
"Families are the first classroom of children's lives and parents are their first teachers. As such, family education is crucial for helping children make the right first moves," said Wu Hongqin, a lawmaker, in an interview on March 10 during this year's "Two Sessions" in Beijing.
Wu, who is also president of Fujian Women's Federation in southeast China, said that family education is the basis and starting point of everyone's entire life, and it plays an irreplaceable role in personal development and family harmony. It is also essential for the improvement of "national quality" and prosperity.
In recent years, the need for speeding up the process of legislation on family education has been widely recognized. At the end of 2016, the All-China Women's Federation and eight other departments jointly issued the Five-Year Plan on the Promotion of Family Education (2016-2020), appealing for a law-based policy framework on family education.
Wu has long been concerned with social problems relating to women, children and family education. During the "Two Sessions", she has repeatedly called for complementary and supportive measures to accompany the universal two-child policy.
Wu researched and studied in-depth on family education before attending the Fifth Session of the 12th NPC. She said family education legislation is the key to children's growth.
She hoped the government could speed up the legislative process and the authorities could face up to the shortcomings and challenges of family education, and recognize the significance of family education from a strategic angle.
"Family education is the starting point and cornerstone of all kinds of education for its early-formed and lifelong nature. Family education, school education and social education work independently from each other and form a unified education system," Wu said.
Wu pointed out the current problems in family education. First, parents' sense of responsibility is not strong enough, she said. Most of them lack the educational ability or instructional methods.
According to the statistics, nearly half parents do not know how to educate their children, and about 80 percent of them said they have not learned relevant knowledge or received professional training. In addition, parents from the generation born in the 80s often feel helpless and confused when it comes to raising two or more children.
Secondly, the current laws and regulations have not defined explicit governmental responsibilities for family education. Family education has not yet been included in the development planning of the country's economy, society and basic public services.
Thirdly, there is a lack of a systematical legal basis for family education causes. China has not yet developed a special family education law, and relevant legal provisions are merely scattered in other rules. Moreover, the responsibilities of government, society and schools in family education are obscure. This may lead to ineffective restrictions on parents who did not fulfill their educational responsibility.
The shortages also included insufficient governmental investment and policy support, unremarkable government-oriented practices, incomplete social support network and multi-departmental cooperating mechanisms, Wu added.
How should the country resolve these problems? "Family education legislation is the key to improving," Wu said.
She pointed out that family education legislation is earnestly needed to strengthen parents and guardians' sense of responsibility; to guide parents to bring up and educate children accordingly; and, to teach children knowledge, morality and help them develop a good character and habits.
Family education is critical for the improvement of people's livelihood. To clarify the role of the government through legislation, governments at all levels should integrate family education into the basic public services and national economic and social development plans; clarify responsibilities of different education departments; increase financial investment and policy support; build link mechanisms for different departments and strengthen government-oriented supervision towards implementation.
To create a legal environment for family education, laws and policies should be feasible. That is, legal departments should clarify their legal liabilities towards people who violate relevant legal norms and effectively restrict parents who do not fulfill their responsibilities as guardians.
To achieve the right combination of compassion and law in family education, parents must receive professional training when their children do something bad. Correspondingly, if parents are seriously delinquent and inadequate, they should be legally deprived of the rights of guardianship.
Lu Xun, a well-known writer, thinker and revolutionist in China, had once called on fathers to train, he said that it's not only love that promotes children's growth, as human being's love is indistinguishable from that of animals. Wu thought that we should attach great importance to the construction of parents' schools and make full use of the school' educational function.
It is important to vigorously develop a guidance network which closely links schools, families and communities. At the same time, educational departments should strengthen teacher training in schools for parenting, integrate their work into an evaluation system, further improve the faculty's professional level and finally guide parents to fulfill their responsibilities, Wu said.
Children are the future of a nation. Family education is about more than the system of engineering families, government and society; it is also about individuals and national strategic projects, Wu added.