Shanghai education authority responds to State Council guideline

Shanghai Education Commission says it will work out measures to enforce the document aimed at advancing reform and improving the quality of compulsory education. 

Shanghai's education authority said on Tuesday that it will research a recent State Council guideline and work out measures to enforce the document aimed at advancing education reform and improving the quality of compulsory education.

As the guideline requires administrators and schools to prevent students becoming overburdened with studies and homework, the Shanghai Education Commission said it will release two documents before September to guide schools in reducing burdens while improving study efficiency and managing homework.

The national guideline requires teachers to focus on class teaching, protecting students’ curiosity, imagination and thirst for knowledge, inspiring their study interest and improving study capacity.

It asks schools to control the amount of homework and time spent doing it, ensuring students finish the basic homework and strengthening practical assignments. Schools and teachers are encouraged to explore flexible or cross-disciplinary homework, but are banned from asking parents to check it.

It also requires tests to be designed within the syllabus and connected to life, while student performance should be assessed with grades, rather than scores. It also bans the display of students’ performance and their rankings.

It also stresses the importance of family education and calls for legislation, pointing out that parents have to develop scientific parenting attitudes, enhancing communication with children, cultivating their good thoughts, behaviors and habits, helping children establish growth goals reasonably, and preventing blind competition that can cause after-school burdens on children.

The commission said it will continue to deepen reform of high school admissions to guide primary and middle schools to focus on students’ all-round development and improve their problem-solving abilities as well as practice and innovation skills.

The national guideline says both public and private schools must hold admission procedures at the same time while tests and interviews are no longer permitted.

Currently, public and private primary schools in Shanghai admit students at the same time, but private middle schools make admission decisions before public ones. While public schools enroll pupils according to locality, private ones can arrange interviews.

Under the new guideline, private schools will need to enroll students based on random draw by computer if applicants exceed their admission plans.

The local commission said it will further promote balanced and high-quality development in local schools. But it will continue to support private schools to develop in a “healthy” direction, guiding them to develop with characteristics and better serve the different demands for education.

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