Beijing schools offer 2 hours of after-class services

Beijing’s municipal government has announced details of measures in the education sector to ease the burden on students and parents in the new semester.

Beijing Education Commission spokesman Li Yi said on Tuesday that schools offering compulsory education in Beijing will provide at least two hours of after-class services for all students on weekdays from this month.

“As a follow-up move to the ‘double reduction’ policy, the regulations aim to promote the comprehensive development of students with diverse after-class services including homework tutoring, physical exercises and interest activities,” Li said.

Many Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and Chengdu, Sichuan province, have adopted the “double reduction”, which aims to effectively reduce the excessive homework and after-school tutoring burden on students within a year, and achieve significant outcomes within three years.

In addition to providing after-school services, which will keep students on school campuses rather than going to subject-training institutions outside of school, the Beijing education authorities asked schools to cut back on inefficient homework and examinations with repetitious and punitive content.

“Improving the quality and efficiency of education within schools is the fundamental strategy to promote ‘double reduction’ with practical results,” Li said.

Sun Hui, a mother whose daughter will be starting first grade at a primary school in the capital’s Xicheng district next year, said that the after-class services will make it easier for parents to pick up their children from schools.

“Parents with school-aged kids are usually middle-aged, and their working time often collides with the end of the classes,” she said. “The service will give us a great deal of convenience.”

Many parents used to pay extra money to training institutions outside of school for their children to have subject or art classes before they got off work. The new policy will also help such families save money.

However, some parents expressed concerns.

Yu Chen, the mother of a fourth grade student in Beijing’s Dongcheng district, said she thought the subject courses were necessary and helpful.

“I want my son to learn more and he likes taking those courses,” she said.

A mother surnamed Yang who bought online English and math courses for her 4-year-old daughter, who is still in kindergarten, received a notice from the online training school on Tuesday saying that she could get a refund and that no new courses are available.

“It’s such a pity,” she said. “The courses were good and I would have loved to continue them if it had kept running. Now, I have to find new ways and study materials for my daughter.”

To ease parents’ worries, some districts will offer programs to improve the quality of after-class services.

Xiao Wen, director of the Chaoyang district education commission, said that the district will cooperate with local institutions such as cultural and artistic venues and science and technology museums to enrich students’ experiences in after-class services.

Schools in Xicheng district plan to launch special online courses about the “double reduction” for parents to help them better understand the policy, and provide guidance on scientific family education, said Wang Pan, director of the district’s education commission.

Author: Du Juan, Feng Xiaojie, China Daily

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