As children in China are halfway through their summer vacation, the pressure to finish their homework assignments grows stronger.  This is exactly what summer holiday homework substitute services are hoping for as advertisements have been springing up everywhere on the internet, according to Tawain-based news site NOWnewsThese business men and women are offering their experience and knowledge to do your child’s homework for a nominal fee.

The various services all offer competitive pricing schemes along with incentives like volume discounts, where a group of 3 or more students can get a 30% discount. Many of them charge by the page.  For example, one homework sub might have these fees.

1 worksheet                                         = 2 yuan (US$0.30)
1 workbook                                         = 50 yuan (US$7.80)
1 written report                                   = 10 yuan (US$1.50)
40 pages of math problems
[approx. 100 questions]                    = 300 yuan (US$47)

Of course those are just ballpark numbers.  Prices would be subject to change as not all homework is created equal.

So who’s behind this nefarious scheme corrupting the young students of China? – the older students of China!  Most services are run by University students who are looking to pick up some extra spending cash for their own vacation.  It sure beats waiting tables.

Parents are understandably worried about this new wave of entrepreneurship and the effect it will have on their children’s academic development.  In a strange way, this situation could add a weird Darwinian/free market benefit to the education system on the whole.

Think about it: the educationally superior students making money off and thinning out the students who think they can buy their way through life and will ultimately fail to pass University entrance exams.   Thus the cream will rise to the top and reap the financial rewards of the wealthier, yet less earnest students.

Of course if I was a parent of a lazy child, I’d be worried. When interviewed a lawyer had this to say about homework substitutes, “There’s no law against what they’re doing.  It’s up to the schools to monitor and punish students in the manner they see fit, including expulsion.”  This is one problem even manila folders can’t solve.

Source: Record China (Japanese)