50 tasks for education authorities this year
Building new kindergartens, a new policy for primary and middle school admissions and promoting international exchanges are among this year's 50 important tasks, according to a mission list released by the Shanghai Education Commission.
It will build and expand 30 kindergartens to cater for a growing population and launch a program to encourage reading by building up reading spaces and providing reading materials.
It will also join with other government departments to work out establishment standards and management methods for nurseries for children under 3.
Such facilities are badly needed by parents who both have to work but have no relatives on hand to look after children too young for kindergarten.
Some enterprises had tried to set up workplace nurseries for employees’ children. But some proved unqualified, such as one set up by online tourism giant Ctrip, where teachers were found to have abused children. That sparked appeals for standardized regulations for nurseries.
Another important task for education authorities is to work out a new policy for primary and middle school admissions.
In Shanghai, private schools can arrange interviews to select students while public schools only admit students living nearby.
Students can apply for both private and public schools, but private schools in the city made their decisions earlier and students who failed to be admitted could still be in an equal position with other students for admission to public schools.
The education commission said it would change the rules and ask private and public schools to have their admission process at the same time.
It will mean students who fail to enroll in private schools may lose the chance to be admitted to popular public schools and instead go to less popular schools that still have vacancies.
The change is expected to ease the craze for private schools as too many parents had applied for private schools and had their children spend lots of time cramming to increase their competitiveness, causing a great burden on the young students.
Shanghai will also improve its vocational education quality by improving its standards to the level of WorldSkills Competition — known as the Olympics of skills — innovate its teaching methods and improve its training facilities.
Shanghai will host the 46th WorldSkills Competition in 2021.
Education will be further opened up to the world, according to the commission. It will support the city's free trade zone to run Sino-foreign joint venture schools and training organizations and also support local universities to run schools overseas.
Other tasks include promoting information technology, artificial intelligence and block chain technology in education and enhancing protection for juveniles.