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Ministry circular sets out rules for after-class services at schools

By Zhao Yimeng | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-12-27 15:51

After-class services for students at Chinese primary and junior middle schools must not be compulsory and should not increase their academic burden, the Ministry of Education said in a circular released on Wednesday.

Such services aim to enhance the role of schools in alleviating the pressure on families with children and regulate out-of-school education institutions after the country implemented a policy of reducing the burdens on students from school assignments and out-of-school classes in 2021.

However, problems that emerged during the process, such as extra charges or academic assignments in the name of after-class services at some schools, had created new burdens for both students and parents, a ministry official said.

To address those concerns, the ministry issued the circular on further regulating after-class services and improving their quality.

The circular emphasized that schools should provide diverse extracurricular activities such as vocational, physical and artistic education, as well as interest groups and clubs, rather than increasing students' academic burden by teaching new classes or reviewing for tests.

Unauthorized charges for after-class services are prohibited, it stressed, and local governments and schools should exempt economically disadvantaged students from related fees.

The circular said after-class services should be scheduled after regular class hours and the completion of school teaching plans, and services such as supervision for self-study and lunch breaks offered by schools should not be included.

Mandatory participation is strictly prohibited, it said. Schools conducting after-school services should actively consult students to determine their needs and inform parents of related content and safety measures.

The circular also banned unqualified institutions and personnel from providing after-class services on campuses and strengthened the monitoring of charging standards.

A comprehensive investigation should be conducted on the implementation of after-class services in each region, it said, with necessary adjustments to be made in the spring semester next year.

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