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New rules issued for after-school classes

Zou Shuo
Updated: Mar 30,2018 8:49 AM     China Daily

The Ministry of Education released a further guideline on March 28 to regulate after-school training institutions for primary and secondary school students.

The new guideline requires local education authorities to release detailed plans by the middle of next month that reduce students’ excessive academic burdens.

The plans should include timetables for specific measures, name the people in charge and provide hotlines for the public to report misconduct, according to a statement on the ministry’s website.

Local education authorities should conduct a thorough investigation on all training institutions within their jurisdiction and disclose the information to the public, the statement said.

“Training institutions that have safety hazards, lack permits, engage in exam-oriented training or hire teachers from public schools will be closed,” it said.

Last month, the Education Ministry and three other ministries jointly issued a similar guideline to regulate providers of after-school classes.

“Teachers who lure or coerce students to attend after-school training classes will be dealt with seriously or even stripped of their teaching credentials,” the statement said.

It added that institutions should not teach anything outside the syllabus, and they should submit their course plans, enrollment targets and class hours to local education authorities for approval.

They are not allowed to organize graded examinations or conduct competitions for primary and secondary school students. In addition, the training results from these institutions cannot be used as criteria for future enrollment in primary or middle schools, the statement said.

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Beijing, said issuing two guidelines on the same matter in two months is rare and means that the ministry is determined to crack down on misbehaving training institutions.

The new guideline aims to establish an accountability system for local education authorities so they cannot evade responsibility, Xiong said, adding that it is intended to ensure that the earlier guideline will be achieved.

“However, the real solution for reducing students’ excessive burdens lies in a complete overhaul of China’s exam-oriented education system,” he said.

Because of unbalanced education resources, parents often feel forced to send their children to various, and often expensive, extra classes after school, a practice that often comes with great physical, psychological and financial burdens.

More than 137 million primary and secondary school students attended such institutions in 2016, according to the Chinese Society of Education, which is overseen by the Ministry of Education.