China values education, and this starts at a very young age. Recently, a lot of kindergartens have been exposed as ‘inadequate’. According to China Daily, the government has admitted that young education is ‘the weakest part of our country’s education,.’
The perceived lack of good schools coupled with parent’s desire to give their children the best learning experience possible has created a scenario where schools squeeze parents with ‘enrollment’ and ‘sponsorship’ fees, and parents willingly pad their pockets in an attempt to guarantee admission. No one will call it bribery, but no one will call it fair either.
The rules of the enrollment game might change though, as several ministry-level departments have prohibited parents’ enrollment and sponsorship fees in an attempt to level out the playing field. Complimenting this, the central government’s 2011 budget has allocated three billion yuan (USD462 million) to "support the development of rural preschool education in central and western regions and ethnic minority areas".
On average, Chinese families spend around 14 percent of their annual income on education, with that number hovering around 18 percent for families who earn less than RMB80,000 per year. To compare, American’s spend three to four percent of their annual income on education, according to 2006 figures.