China’s Ministry of Education: No Key Classes for Compulsory Education

China’s Ministry of Education held a press conference on Monday to introduce the new policies related to primary and secondary education in the upcoming semester after instituting the “double-reduction” policy. It is emphasized that from the new semester, compulsory education schools can no longer set up key classes in any name.

Lv Yugang, Director General of the Department of Basic Education of the Ministry of Education, announced that kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools in most parts of China will start the new semester as usual on September 1st, except for those suspended by pandemic.

One of the main tasks of “double reduction” is to reduce the burden of homework for compulsory education students. The MOE requires that off-campus services should comprise of answering questions for students in puzzles, and preparing activities in literature, sports, volunteer social work, reading, hobby groups and associations.

Regarding the teachers for after-school activities, the school could launch “flexible working hours”, and subsidize these teachers. Retired teachers, qualified social professionals or volunteers can be hired for this program.

This is the first year for most areas to provide after-school care during summer vacation. About 3.026 million students and 339,000 teachers and volunteers participated in the summer after-school care.

Lv Yugang adds that no paper exam is allowed for the first and second grades of primary school, and other grades can only have one exam at the end of each semester.

It is emphasized that from the new semester, compulsory education schools can no longer set up key classes in any name, and should balance the work allocation of its teachers. Schools conducting compulsory education classes are prohibited from increasing or decreasing class hours, adjusting teaching difficulty level or progress, teaching new content in after-school services or assigning homework to parents or to other guardians.

Hu Yanpin, the first-level inspector of the Office of Inspection of the Ministry of Education, said that the “double-reduction” policy is considered to be the “No.1 Program” for education supervision in 2021.

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Hu says a report column has been set up on the media platform of the office of the Education Inspection Committee, open for real-name reports from the masses on problems such as heavy homework burden for students, failure of schools to provide after-school services as regulated, unlicensed training for off-campus training institutions, and false publicity. More than 8,000 reports have been collected so far.