Recently a kindergarten in Yangzhou has caused a stir for practicing capitalism at its finest.  Parents who pay an optional monthly fee can provide their young emotionally malleable child with hugs from their teacher twice a day.

The friend of one student’s parent poster about the pricing plan to the internet when they found out about it. As a result, the school has been put under investigation for unethical conduct.

When children enroll in Yangmao Kindergarten in Jiangdu District, their parents are presented with the choice to pay an additional 80 yuan (US$13) per month to have their children put on the “quality education trial.” Opting into this trial will ensure the child is hugged at the beginning and end of each day by the teacher.

The school charges that, through daily hugs, the child’s self-esteem and enthusiasm can be improved leading to a better overall education.

As news of this program went public, heavy criticism poured in from local parents.  Some officials claim that the hugging fee violates the Education Board’s policies and all parents affected should be refunded.

The school denies the existence of a “hug fee” and maintains that everyone has exaggerated one part of “quality education services” offered there. No official charges have been made against the school yet.

It’s easy to get an unsettled feeling from what the kindergarten did, but was it really that bad? Teachers aren’t obligated to hug students every day. If the parents want to give them an extra shot of confidence with a little hug, why not?

The money isn’t exactly astronomical and seems worth the time it takes to ensure hugs for all paying students.

However, this scheme gets muddy with the students whose parents don’t pay. If some kids are refused hugs and the teacher’s behavior suggests favoritism among the children, things get complicated.

All in all, it’s probably best to stay clear of any form of hugs-for-cash programs at school. Or, you know, just give your students hugs when they need one like a normal human.

Source: Xinhua (Chinese), Nothing To Do With Arboroath (English) via LabaQ (Japanese)