State Council issues education guideline

Document aims to advance reform and improve quality as it bans replacing the national curriculum with regional or school-based curricula and the use of unauthorized textbooks. 

The State Council published a new guideline for advancing education reform and improving the quality of compulsory education on Monday. 

Among the 26 items in the document is a ban on schools replacing the national curricula with regional or school-based curricula. Neither can primary and middle schools, covering China's nine-year compulsory education, use textbooks that haven’t been approved by authorities.

The document also makes clear that primary and middle schools are banned from using overseas curricula and textbooks. 

It also notes that 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 elementary schools in Shanghai admit students at the same time. While public schools enroll pupils according to locality, private ones could arrange interviews.

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

The document also states that schools should not ask parents to check students’ homework while teachers should not punish students with extra homework. Teachers are asked to review homework carefully and give timely feedback. 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.

The guideline reiterates that local governments should always give priority to investment in education and keep improving the salaries of teachers, ensuring that the average pay of teachers is no lower than that of local civil servants.

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