China’s Ministry of Education: Debilitating Homework Assistance Apps to be Forced Offline

Recently, China’s Ministry of Education issued a notice that would temporarily put offline homework apps that provide and disseminate bad learning methods such as “taking pictures of questions to search answers”.

The Ministry believes that these methods weaken students’ thinking abilities, affects their independent thinking and violates the country’s laws of education and teaching. After the APPs have fixed their systems and have been reviewed by the provincial education administrative department, the apps will be allowed to return to market.

The notice also pointed out that local education administrative departments will have to complete the examination and approval for online discipline training institutions of primary and secondary schools, and that the filing of related apps will be suspended. The relevant educational apps that have already been filed have been temporarily moved offline from the platform.

After obtaining the necessary online discipline training licenses for primary and secondary schools, offline education app providers need to provide their license information on the platform and submit an application for restoration in order to be approved by the local provincial education administrative department.

As early as July 24th this year, the Double Reduction policy released by the government warned that online training institutions should not provide and disseminate content such as “taking pictures of questions and searching answers”.

SEE ALSO: Municipal Education Commission Introduces “Double Reduction” Work in Beijing

In August, Tipaipai, an app under educational company TAL, announced that the app would no longer provide services from August 5, 2021 onwards. Previously, Afanti, an online education platform, issued a similar notice on August 3, 2021.

Further, the introduction of products such as Xiaoyuan Dayi, Tipaipai and Zuoyebang in APP stores have been marked with signs such as “Homework Inspection and Counseling Tool for Parents” and “Good Helper for Parents and Teachers to Check Homework Intelligently”. The change in labelling suggests a change in target audience from students to parents and teachers.

According to industry insiders, the key point of compliance in these types of software lies in changing scenarios and users, while also setting identity restrictions and authentications.