China says no to excessive workloads for young students
For Chinese students, the upcoming semester might be a little bit different from those in the past. They will be able to stay on campus longer, as a cornucopia of after-class programs are being offered by schools.
The changes come amid a national campaign to reduce excessive homework and off-campus tutoring for students receiving the nine-year compulsory education.
In July, Chinese authorities introduced a set of guidelines aimed at effectively reducing the heavy workload placed on students and the financial burden on parents.
The overall requirement is to pursue a high-quality basic education, improve school education, and develop a complete system of on-campus services, said Lyu Yugang, an official with the Ministry of Education, at a press conference on Monday.
As the main battlefield in the campaign, schools need to recalibrate homework assignments, provide better after-class services and improve classroom teaching, he added.
Schools are required to introduce specific regulations on preventing excessive academic burdens on students. An online questionnaire will be opened to the general public and the feedback will be considered as an important indicator for reference when evaluating the performance of schools in this regard, said Lyu.
In order to relieve the students of the burden of excessive homework and off-campus tutoring, China has been striving to extend after-class services to all schools.
Clubs for arts, sports, labor skills, reading and other hobbies are encouraged, the ministry said. Teachers are allowed to work on a flexible time schedule and obtain subsidies for after-class services. Retired teachers, professionals and volunteers will be enlisted. Social organizations such as Children's Palace are out there to tap into.
Schools are urged to improve classroom teaching to boost the efficiency of students' in-class study, according to the ministry.
Schools are encouraged to launch innovative programs and textbooks, while making good use of online courses created by elite teachers across the country. A nationwide selection of high-quality basic education courses has been launched this month, said Lyu.