Friday, 01. August 2014
26. 05. 14. - 15:00
The pressure to get a good education in China is now seeing parents queue all night long to register their children for school.
Recently five-year-old Xiong Tang was caught on camera in his pyjamas with single mother Li Wei Tuan, 31, at his side as they patiently waited in line for 24 hours outside a school in Guangdong Province.
The primary school in the city Huizhou - renowned for its teaching excellence - saw hundreds like her queueing in hope of an all important place for their children when the autumn term begins in September.
Competition for primary school places is especially fierce, with a chronic shortage of supply over demand despite the one child policy and small families.
These parents brought along sleeping bags, camping stoves, games for the children, food and drink. Tuan said: "Nothing is more important than my child. Although this may look extreme to some people, I would queue for a week if it meant giving an advantage to my child."
Throughout the night they waited, there was the occasional glow of mobile telephones and torches as people messaged loved ones elsewhere or tried to read books. It rained overnight but most of the plucky parents had brought umbrellas along with them.
"We understood it would be a hard time in this rainy but hot season. However we have to do this to guarantee my kid won’t miss the registration chance," said one mother.
A family of three generations even took turns to queue up to let family members have some time to rest, stretched out on the soft grass of a nearby park.
The school is in a district with an abnormally high number of residents. Hundreds of parents were disappointed by the time the school gates opened - but Tuan's vigil had paid off and she won a coveted classroom seat for her son.
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