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New China's educational reform: is it just a relief for students?

When the new semester is at the corner for nationwide students and educational professions, China's ministry of education has announced 2021 educational reform at its press conference held on the 30th of August. This new educational reform will effectively facilitate previous proposals and draft bills about reducing the academic pressure Chinese students face to touch the ground. And here are the main highlights:

1. Reducing the volume of students' homework

According to the deployment of the Central government, the Ministry of Education has put forward specific requirements for students' homework, to which all local schools must attach great importance.

The Notice said, students in Grade 1 & 2 should not be given written homework, whereas oral task is possible. For other grades, schools should restrain students' time spent on written assignments in one hour. In terms of junior school students, the time students spend on homework should be within 90 minutes. Besides, the difficulty of the home assignments should ensure that students can work to the limits of their capacity. The schools should not shirk their responsibility to parents and require their participation to finish students' homework.

The Ministry of Education has listed the above requirements in the guidelines of Education Administration & Supervision, as well as the Double Reduction Monitoring System". The monitoring system links to all the national primary and secondary schools' cloud platforms to conduct questionnaire surveys. The survey results will be an essential reference to evaluate the effectiveness of each School operating work.

2. Reducing the examination pressure

The Ministry of Education issued the Notice on strengthening the compulsory education school examination management to reduce students' exam pressure. It points out that schools should reduce the tests. Especially, Grade 1 & 2 of primary schools should not carry out paper tests. Midterm exams or monthly academic tests are not allowed. A joint examination among schools is not permitted and is only an exception to Grade 3 students in Junior school.

The difficulty of the examination should not exceed the class standard and the teaching schedule, which is a frequent phenomenon in the past to distinguish the students' academic performance and level. To make reasonable use of examination results, the mid-term and final examination of the School to implement new grade evaluation. Schools should pay attention to evaluating students' comprehensive quality, academic performance, learning ability, and creative ability. All schools should conscientiously implement the requirements under the Notice.

3. Comprehensively improving the quality of classroom teaching

The classroom is the prominent position of school education and teaching work. The School should take improving the quality of classroom teaching as the core task. Education departments should guide schools to improve their teaching management procedures, scientifically formulate teaching plans, ensuring that state-mandated courses are fully and uniformly taught. Teachers are encouraged to optimize their teaching methods and effectively improve students' classroom learning efficiency.

4. Honors classes shall not be set up in any excuses

To carry out the "double reduction" task, schools must strengthen education and teaching management and strictly implement education and teaching work.

After the beginning of the new semester, schools should strictly implement the legal provisions of balanced classes, not under any excuses to set up honors types, and effectively achieve a proportional allocation of teachers.

5. Regulating after-school training

Discipline training is strictly prohibited. The government shall not approve new discipline training institutions and shall not be listed and financed. However, the Ministry of Education advocates decompression and burden reduction training for the children, by which children can cultivate their talents, specialty, and have their after-school holiday life enriched, Etc.

# Why the new reform?

The reform is systematic, and the guidelines are mutually reinforced.

Firstly, China is stepping forward to cultivating technical talents to adapt to the development of high technology. The future demands for technical mastery and the present unproportionate labor structure have unveiled the weakness of China's previous education mechanism, which only emphasizes theoretical knowledge while practical experiences and skills are neglected. With the traditional educational theory gradually withdrawn from the historical stage, the schools will enhance practical education. Therefore, China's new education reform will aim to drive the rise of the technology industry and constrain the decline of traditional education.

By limiting the education examination and the paper homework, unifying teaching programs, and steering the scope of teaching, schools will have more resources to allocate to technical education.

However, this is far from enough. After-school training also significantly consumes educational resources. Due to China's large population base, fierce internal competition, parents' high expectation of children having a bright future, and their anxiety of children losing behind others, parents are prone to send their children to discipline training spontaneously, which is beyond school management. Thus, after-school activity will hinder education transformation and harden the original education theory entrenched in parents' minds.

When the ministry of education announced the prohibition of after-school training, the corresponding traditional education will face bankruptcy and students' lack.

Unemployment will also be a significant trend shortly because the reform will break down the original education configuration. The redundant education and training teachers will eventually face unemployment or rush to the countryside to teach or teach in technical schools.

Meanwhile, adjusting or closing down educational and training institutions, prohibiting the investment in education and training institutions, and strengthening school management to prevent students from participating in off-campus training institutions are also conducive to moderating the imbalance in the education gap between countryside and cities in China, as social contradictions caused by the imbalanced allocation of education resources are gradually emerging.

# What are the main worries from the parents?

China's new education reform clearly targets strengthening technical education. From parents' perspectives, many hold different views. Some are pleased with the new reform because their children can be relieved from the burden of academic contests and have more time to enjoy their childhood and play.

Some are skeptical about the reform as the education examination and homework are critical indicators to evaluate students and help them consolidate the knowledge they learn. Children have latent talents and unused gifts that become apparent by paper exercise. And their strength and capacity are even hidden from them until they participate in academic contests and climb the mountains of difficulty.

They also think that kids are playful, and kids have no idea about the significance of studying. When the signs imply that students might fail in Gaokao, which is the entrance to higher education, they don't even have a chance to remedy it but only will have regrets left when they become mature and have a clear perception of China's competitive society.

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