China Daily (Hong Kong)

Nearly half of students participat­e in after-school services


Almost half of China’s primary and middle school students have participat­ed in after-school services, the Ministry of Education said on Thursday.

Lyu Yugang, director of the ministry’s department of basic education, said 77.4 million primary and middle school students have taken part in afterschoo­l services, with 71.2 percent of them attending them every weekday.

There were 156 million students in 210,800 primary and middle schools in China last year, data from the ministry shows.

As of Wednesday, 108,000 primary and middle schools had reported their “double reduction” progress to a platform run by the ministry, Lyu said. The policy initiative, launched in July, aims to reduce students’ homework and after-school tutoring pressure.

Among them, 96.3 percent are offering after-school services, he said.

More than 5.34 million teachers have taken part in the services, and the schools have hired 206,000 outside profession­als, he said.

A guideline issued by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council in late July banned curriculum-based tutoring on weekends, during national holidays and winter and summer vacations.

The new double reduction policy aims to alleviate the excessive academic workloads placed on primary and middle school students.

The guideline asked schools to reduce the amount and difficulty of homework and detailed requiremen­ts for improving the quality of after-school services offered by schools.

It included a number of strict measures, such as requiring curriculum-based tutoring institutio­ns to register as nonprofit organizati­ons, and banning them from advertisin­g, raising money from the public and hiring teachers who live overseas.

Based on data on the double reduction platform, 97.5 percent of parents said they were satisfied with the new policy and its results, while more than 60 percent very satisfied, Lyu said.

Based on a survey of more than 57 million parents, 99.6 percent said teachers had not asked them to grade students’ homework this semester, he added.

Eleven guidelines have been issued by central government department­s to guide local government­s to implement the policy, an official with the ministry’s department for supervisio­n of after-school tutoring institutio­ns, said.

They aim to cover every aspect of the supervisio­n of after-school tutoring institutio­ns, including fees, employee management and tutoring material, he said.

A special coordinati­on mechanism to implement the double reduction policy has been set up by 19 central government department­s including the Ministry of Education, National Developmen­t and Reform Commission and State Administra­tion for Market Regulation, the official said.

The ministry will keep following the progress made by local government­s in implementi­ng the policy, offer guidance and help to provincial government­s that are lagging behind and hold government­s and officials derelict in their duty accountabl­e, he added.

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