China education reforms to remove focus from exams

China education reforms to remove focus from exams

The Chinese government is set to introduce education reforms to take pressure off pupils, reports CNN.

China’s leading government body, the State Council, unveiled a new set of guidelines which call for less focus on exams and more consideration of physical, cultural and political education.

Chinese students ‘overloaded

Xinhua news agency stated: “Under the current exam-oriented education system, Chinese students are overloaded with schoolwork and lack sufficient physical exercise, which has given rise to health problems such as obesity and myopia.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping has, over the past year, been calling for China education reforms to the country’s education system.

In March this year, Xi met with teachers where he spoke of a need for the country to educate a “new generation of young people capable of shouldering the mission of national rejuvenation”.

Lai Man-hong, an associate professor of education policy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong states that it is a ‘systematic problem’. “The whole system for promotions – from teachers, to principals, to local officials, as well as the head of the city or the province – all are closely linked to the public exam results,” he noted.

China education reforms to see a move away from testing

The current compulsory education system – which covers the first nine years of school for Chinese students, up to high school – is presently responsible for over 150 million students across 220,000.

The current system places emphasis on tests, especially the zhongkao (secondary school entrance exam) and the gaokao (university entrance exam). As a result, the core focus for most secondary school students is exam results.

The government’s plan isn’t to get rid of either the gaokao or the zhongkao, but to encourage schools to shift the focus away from tests and rakings in order to take the pressure off pupils.

The government also wants parents to stop putting unhealthy pressure on their children to succeed at tests.

The document states: “Parents must … avoid blindly engaging in invidious competition and limit overburdening their kids with too many extracurricular activities.”

The new plans will see teachers focus on “cultivating cognitive ability, promoting the development of thinking and stimulating the sense of innovation.”

Photo: Feliphe Schiarolli

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