Shadow education facilitates the '996' overwork? The effects of parental working hours on children's shadow education hours with differences by parental gender

Stream: Chinese social policy: families and children
Date: Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Time: 1.35 pm – 3.15 pm


Previous research neglected the care function of shadow education. When the topic of overwork become popular in China, 'flexible school-leaving time (FSLT)' has been implemented to reduce the role of shadow education as after school care. Using the data from the Chinese Family Panel Studies (2010) and the Tobit model, this article evaluates the theoretical basis of this policy, which is to investigate how the working hours of parents affect the shadow education hours of their children (Age 10-15). It finds the effects of parents' working hours are only significant for children in primary school who need more care and a parental gender difference exists in these effects: mothers' working hours forms a inverted U-shaped associated with children's shadow education hours on workdays, but the effects of father's are not significant. The results imply that FSLT is partly working but the child-picking-up problem encountered by intensely overworked mothers has not been solved. Moreover, this article suggests the shadow education at weekends has been overlooked by FSLT and its care function is different from the workday one since the article finds children's shadow education hours are negatively associated with mothers' working hours, but its relationship with fathers' is inverted U-shaped. Our field work suggests the weekend shadow education time could be reduced due to more purposely-arranged father-child interactions while it needs more everyday mother-child care. Intensely overworked fathers could have no time or energy to attach sufficient attention to children's shadow education.


Jie Wang (Presenter), Sun Yat-Sun University
Jie Wang is a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Government at Sun Yat-Sen University. He studied in Sociology at Nanjing University for a bachelor's and a master's degree, following which he studied for a PhD in the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW.

Bofan Liu, Sun Yat-Sun University
Bofan Liu is a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Government at Sun Yat-Sen University. He studied for a PhD in Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.