Some of My Dreams for Hohhot

For most families that I know or hear about, there are two predominant reasons they leave China for their home country: education and health care.

The October edition of the Beijinger included an article about a family that returned to the UK after their son spent just a bit of time in a public school in Beijing. I have known at least three (although I’m sure there are more) families who have had to leave Hohhot because there weren’t suitable education opportunities for their families.

The thing is, most of my local friends complain about their educational options as well. They don’t like the amount of time their kids are in class and they don’t like how much homework their kids have. But, they feel stuck because they feel their child won’t succeed unless they make good grades in the system as it is.

I think the other big reason people leave is because someone in their family needs some kind of health care beyond what the hospitals here can provide. We decided to return to the States to have our second child because we prefer the midwifery model of care for childbirth and that option isn’t available here. We also recently had to make a somewhat emergent trip to Beijing to get medical attention for my husband. We chose an international hospital there because we had already ran the gamut of local hospitals here trying to find a solution.

Most of my local friends also seem frustrated about the local system, especially the overuse of IV antibiotics. They wish there was an alternative when their children are sick, but don’t know of any other way to get medical care without accessing the only system that’s available locally.

With those words of introduction, my dreams for Hohhot are: a different model for health care and a different model for education.

I don’t have the answer to most of the non-ideal situations in Hohhot. I also have been here long enough to understand some of the complexities behind those issues and I understand that there is no simple solution. I offer my suggestions as my personal dreams for simple changes. They are not the solution. They may not even be a solution. They are simply some of my dreams.

In regards to education, if we were back home in Oklahoma, we would either home school or send our girls to a school that’s referred to as a “blended model” which is two days of classroom instruction at a school with supplemental home school curriculum for the remaining three days of the week. I think this kind of set up would be ideal here. Our kids (I mean kids of expats) need friends. But, I think most expats who have put their kids in the Chinese public school system have experienced many obstacles and much frustration along the way. I personally don’t think there’s a large enough community here yet to support a traditional model international school, but I think there are already families who are homeschooling and the blended model would complement what they are already doing and would allow for some Chinese families looking for an alternative to participate.

As far as health care is concerned, I think very, very simple changes would go a long way. Instead of spending big money on more equipment and new buildings, I think the overall health of Hohhot’s residents would be improved by implementing very simple changes. I personally think a simple change of providing hand soap in the bathrooms and improving basic sanitation in the hospitals would go a long way. I know the doctors are severely overworked, but allowing the doctors more time with patients to make an accurate diagnosis would improve the standard of care for everyone. I, personally, would love to see midwives practicing which I hope would lead to improved maternal-fetal care and ideally lower the incidences of C-section rates, which is now at about 50% (and I’ve heard 60% in some urban areas of China). source 1 source 2

I’m not an educator or a medical professional. I’m just sharing my opinions about my dreams for Hohhot. What are yours? What would you like to improve in our fine city? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


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