Chinese schools told to cut homework as parents pick up the slack

Authorities in Jiangsu province issue 30 guidelines designed to ease pressure on children

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 October, 2017, 12:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 October, 2017, 9:24pm

An education authority in eastern China has urged schools to reduce the amount of homework given to pupils amid complaints from parents that the burden was so heavy that they were having to do their children’s assignments for them.

The Jiangsu provincial department of education on Monday issued 30 guidelines designed to reduce the pressure on young people from homework, testing and schoolwork, The Beijing News reported on Thursday.

Schools were told to strictly control the amount of homework set each day, ensure it was based on the children’s classwork and to set reasonable deadlines.

“Homework should not be above the level of the curriculum or students’ abilities,” it said, adding that it also “should not become parental homework”.

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Parents across the country have complained on social media of the pressure their children are under with homework, with many saying that they end up having to do the work themselves.

One mother said: “When I was younger and got home from school, my parents watched TV while I did my homework. Now when I get home from work … I still have to do homework.”

China’s rigorous education system has long been criticised for putting too much pressure on children – and their parents – with stress reduction given as one of the key objectives in a national education reform and development plan released in 2010.

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A primary schoolteacher from Nanjing was quoted in The Beijing News report as saying that homework should be assigned by teachers and completed by students with parental supervision in a “tripartite collaboration”.

“But it has become a vicious cycle, because students turn in homework that has been polished by their parents, so teachers assign more difficult homework,” the unnamed teacher said.

“This has actually created a situation that is unsatisfactory for all parties.”

Jin Peiqing, an education expert, was quoted as saying that most parents did not have the ability or time to help with homework, and that teachers would not be able to properly assess pupils’ progress if their parents did their work for them.