Opinions on Further Reducing the Burden on Students in the Compulsory Education State from Homework and Extracurricular Training

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The following Opinions are put forward so as to thoroughly implement the spirit of the 19th Party Congress and its 5th plenary session, to truly increase the level of education in schools, to sustainably regulate extracurricular training (including online and offline training), and to effectively reduce the burden from homework and from extracurricular training for compulsory education stage students (hereinafter the "two reductions).

I. General Requirements

1. Guiding ideology. Adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era, fully implementing the Party's directives on education, implementing the basic task of fostering virtue through education, focusing on establishing a high-quality education system, strengthening the function of schools as the battlefront, deepening governance of extracurricular training institutions, resolutely preventing infringement of the public's rights and interests, building a positive educational ecology, effectively relieving parents' anxiety, and promoting the full development and healthy growth of students,

2. Work Principles. Persist in being student-oriented, responding to concerns, following the rules of education, focussing on the physical and psychological growth of students, increasing the overall quality of school education and teaching, actively responding to social concerns and expectations, and reducing the burden on parents; adhere to the rule of law, address both symptoms and root causes, strictly implement relevant legal provisions such as the law on compulsory education and the law on the protection minors, strictly governing at the source, governing systematically, and governing comprehensively; persist in the leadership of the government and joint action by multiple sides, strengthening government planning, implementing departmental responsibility, giving play to the main role of schools, completing policy safeguards, clarifying the coordinated joint responsibility of schools, families, and society; persist in overall planning and steady progress, fully implementing relevant state provisions on reducing the academic burdens on students, conducting advance pilots on key challenges, actively promoting typical experiences, and ensuring the that efforts on the 'two reductions' is even and orderly.

3. Work Goals. Further increasing the quality of education and teaching in schools, make homework allocation more scientific and reasonable, essentially satisfy students' need for afterschool services, bring students' studies back on campus, fully regulate off-campus training establishments' training activity. Within one year, effectively reduce students burden from excessive homework and extracurricular training, families' educational expenses, and the corresponding energy burden on parents; with noticeable effect and an increase in public satisfaction with education within 3 years,

II. Fully reduce the total amount and time for homework to lighten students' burden from excessively heavy homework

4. Complete mechanisms for homework management. Schools should improve methods for managing homework, strengthening planning of homework by subject group and grade, reasonably adjusting and controlling the structure of homework, and ensuring the level of difficulty does not exceed national standards. Establish systems for announcing homework in school to strengthen quality oversight. It is strictly prohibited to directly or indirectly assign homework to parents, and it is strictly forbidden to ask parents to check and correct homework assignments.

5. Clarify the total amount of homework by category. Schools should ensure that there is no written homework to be done at home for 1st and 2nd grades, but fixed practice can be appropriately on campus; the average time for completion of written homework for 3rd through 6th grades is not to exceed 60 minutes, and the average time for completion of written homework for middle school is not to exceed 90 minutes.

6. Increase the quality of homework design. Give play to the diagnostic, consolidation, and analytic functions of homework, including homework design in the education and research system, systematically design fundamental homework that comports with the traits and learning principles for the age and that embody the orientation towards whole-person education. Encourage the assignment of tiered, flexible, and personalized homework, resolutely overcome mechanical and ineffective homework and put an end to repetitive and punitive homework.

7. Strengthen guidance on completing homework. Teachers should guide primary school students to essentially complete written homework in school, and middle school students to complete the majority of their written homework at school. Teachers should earnestly correct homework and promptly give feedback, strengthening in-person explanations, earnestly analyzing the state of learning, and doing a good job of answering questions and tutoring. Students must not be required to mark or correct homework themselves.

8. Use spare time scientifically. Schools and parents should guide students to complete remaining written homework after they go home from school, completing the required coursework, engaging in housework in accordance with their abilities, carrying out athletics and exercise, and reading and cultural activities. Where individual students cannot complete their written homework despite their efforts, they should also go to bed on time. Guide students to reasonably use electronics and control the duration of their use to protect vision and health, and prevent internet addiction. Parents should actively communicate with children, paying attention to children's emotions and assisting them in cultivating positive habits for studying and life. Boarding schools should plan and make arrangements for students' life outside of classes.

III. Increase the level of after-school services in schools to satisfy student's diverse needs

9. Ensure time for afterschool services. Schools should make use of resources and advantages to effectively implement various after-school educational activities, to satisfy the diverse learning needs of students in the school. Guide students to voluntarily participate in afterschool services. In principle, afterschool services should not conclude earlier than the normal time people get off work; schools should provide extended care services for students with special needs, and middle schools may establish study halls on workday evenings. Schools may plan and make arrangements for a flexible work time system for teachers.

10. Increase the quality of afterschool services. Schools should draft implementation plan for afterschool services, increasing the appeal of afterschool services. Make full and good use of afterschool service time, guiding students to earnestly complete homework, conducting tutoring and answering questions for students with difficulties in their studies, expanding the space for study for student's with further capacity, and carrying out enriching and vibrant small interest group and social group activities in areas such as popular science, art, labor, and reading. Afterschool service times must not be used to teach new classes.

11. Expand channels for afterschool services. Afterschool services are normally to be taken on by the school's teachers, but retired teachers, professionals from the public, and volunteers may also be recruited to provide them. The education departments may organize exception teachers to carry out afterschool services in schools with weaker faculty. In accordance with laws and regulations, strictly investigate and address teachers' paid off-campus tutoring, even going so far as to revoke teaching credentials. Fully utilize societal resources, giving full play to the role of off-campus activity areas such as youth halls and youth activity centers in afterschool services.

12. Strengthen and improve free online study services. Education departments should consolidate and launch high-quality and enriching online educational and teaching resources, using the national and local education and teaching resource platforms and exceptional school network platforms to provide free, high-quality educational resources on special topics and study resources that cover each grade and subject, to promote the balanced development of educational resources and promote educational platforms. Each region should actively create conditions for and organize exceptional teachers to carry out free online interactive exchanges and answer questions. Each region and school should increase the extent of publicity, popularization, and use, guiding students to make good use of free online exceptional educational resources.

IV. Persist in strictly governing and fully regulating extracurricular training

13. Persist in strict approval of institutions. All regions must not approve new extracurricular academic training institutions aimed at students in compulsory education, and existing academic training institutions are to be uniformly registered as non-profit institutions. Online academic training institutions that previously made filings are to shift to an approval system. Each province (autonomous region, directly governed municipality) should fully screen online academic training establishments that have already filed, and newly handle approval formalities in accordance with standards. Where they are not approved, the previous filings, registrations, and internet information service business permits (ICP) are to be revoked. For non-academic training institutions, each region should distinguish between types such as sports, culture, arts, science, and technology, and clarify the corresponding regulatory department and draft standards by category, and strictly review for approvals. In accordance with laws and regulations, strictly investigate and address extracurricular training institutions that do not possess the corresponding credentials and capacity or that carry out multi-site training without approval. Academic training institutions must never seek funding through public listing, and the capitalization of operations is strictly prohibited; listed companies must not invest in academic training institutions through stock market financing, and must not purchase academic training institution assets through the issuance of stock shares or cash payments; foreign capital must not have controlling shares or purchase shares in academic training institutions through methods such as mergers and acquisitions, being entrusted with operations, franchising or chains, or using variable interest entities. Cleaning up and corrections should be conducted where rules are already violated.

14. Regulate training service activity. Establish filing and oversight systems for training content, drafting and issuing measures on the administration of extracurricular training institutions' training materials. Advance training and training that exceeds standards is strictly prohibited, it is strictly prohibited for non-academic training institutions to engage in academic training, and the provision of foreign education curricula is strictly prohibitted. In accordance with laws and regulations, resolutely investigate and address outstanding issues such as training that exceeds the appropriate scope, inconsistent training quality, vulgar or illegal content, piracy and infringement. Strictly enforce the relevant provisions of the law on the protection of minors; extracurricular training institutions must not use national legally-prescribed holidays, rest days, or summer and winter vacations to organize academic training. Training institutions must not use high salaries to poach school teachers; persons engaged in academic training must possess teaching credentials and publish information on their teaching credentials in prominent positions on the training institutions' premises and website; parents' and students' personal information must not be leaked. Determine fee collection programs and standards for training institutions based on factors such as market demand and training costs, display them to the public, and accept oversight. Fully use the "Extracurricular Training Service Contract for Primary and Secondary School Students (model text). Further complete mechanisms for normalized screening; promptly getting a handle on the circumstances and information of extracurricular training institutions, and improving the 'blacklist system'.

15. Strengthen normalized regulation of operations. Strictly control the excessive influx of capital into training institutions; The financing and collected fees of training institutions should primarily be used in training operations and business; unfair competition through methods such as marketing through fabricating original values, faking discounts, and false promotion is resolutely prohibited Online training should pay attention to the protection of students' sight; each class must not exceed 30 minutes, with at least 10 minutes between classes, and training must not conclude later than 9:00 PM. Actively explore using artificial intelligence technology to reasonably control students' consecutive time on online training. Online training institutions must not provide or disseminate negative study methods such as 'photo-searching for problems' [Mobile apps that upload problems to get assistance] that make students have lazy thinking, impact students' independent thinking, and go against the rules of education and teaching. Hiring of foreigners outside the mainland territory should comply with relevant state provisions, and the hiring of foreigners overseas to carry out training activities is strictly prohibited.

V. Vigorously increase the quality of education and teaching to ensure sufficiently learn in school.

16. Promote the high-quality and balanced development of compulsory education. Each region should solidify the basic and balanced achievements of compulsory education, actively carry out efforts to create high-quality and balanced compulsory education, promote the growth of new high-quality schools, and expand exceptional educational resources. Actively advance the establishment of centralized schooling, governance by school district, and bringing together urban and rural schools, fully stimulating the vitality of schooling, increasing the overall level of schooling, and accelerating the reduction of the educational gap between urban and rural areas, regions, and schools.

17. Increase the quality of classroom teaching. Education departments should guide schools to complete procedures for teaching administration, optimizing teaching methods, strengthening teaching administration, and increasing the efficacy of students learning in schools. Schools should completely, and sufficiently do a good job of carrying state-provided curricula, actively advancing scientific connections between kindergarten and school, assisting students in preparing to enter school, strictly starting from zero in accordance with curriculum standards, teaching all those that should be taught, and ensuring that students reach the degree quality standards provided by the state. Schools must not arbitrarily increase or decrease class times, increase difficulty, or accelerate progress; stress from testing is to be reduced and testing methods are to be improved; there must not be conduct such as ending class early to prepare for tests, violating rules in standardized testing, testing beyond standards, and ranking by examination; and test results are to implement a grading system, resolutely overcoming the tendency towards only scoring.

18. Deepen the reform of high school enrollment. Each region should actively improve student recruitment and enrollment for the high school phase based on middle school level testing results and consideration of overall character assessments, and improve testing methods and methods of presenting results based on traits of different subjects. Persist in testing based on what was taught, further increasing the quality of the high school entrance examination questions, and preventing trick questions, strange questions, and questions with a difficulty that exceeds the curriculum standards. Gradually increase the proportion of high-quality ordinary high school enrollment indicators allocated to junior high schools in the region, standardize the sequence of ordinary high school enrollment, and eliminate enrollment against the rules and vicious competition.

19. Incorporate the quality appraisal system. All levels of local Party committee and government should establish a correct view of political achievement; it is strictly prohibited to issue further indicators for promotion to higher levels of school or to unilaterally evaluate schools and teachers based on the rate of student advancement. Earnestly implement guidelines for assessing the quality of compulsory education, and include work on the 'two reductions' in assessments of the quality of compulsory education in counties and schools, making student participation in afterschool services, reduction of spending on exctracurricular training, and so forth an important part of the appraisal content.

VI. Strengthen supporting governance and increase capacity for support and safeguards

20. Ensure schools' capacity for after-school services. Based on the scale of students and the standards for the allocation of teaching and administrative staff in primary and secondary schools, all areas should make overall plans for allocations, alloting sufficient teachers. Provincial level governments should draft measures for ensuring expenses for afterschool services, clarifying the relevant standards, and employing measures such as fiscal subsidies, service fees, or collection charges to ensure that financing is in place. Afterschool service fees are to be primarily used for subsidies for teachers and others participating in afterschool services, and when relevant departments confirm total amounts of performance pay, they should consider teachers' participation in afterschool services as a factor and make the amount of teachers' afterschool service subsidies an increment in performance pay and set up corresponding items, and it not to be part of the base number for that year's normal determination for performance pay; where personnel from outside the school are recruited to provide afterschool services, the afterschool service subsidies may be managed in accordance with labor fees. Teachers' performance in participating in afterschool services should be an important consideration in job title appraisals, commendations and awards, and the distribution of performance pay.

21. Improve mechanisms for coordinating families, schools, and society. Further clarify the responsibilities of families and schools in education, make communication between families and schools tighter, innovate collaborative methods, and promote the establishment of a collaborative community for education. Departments of education should collaborate with womens federations and other departments in handling parenting schools or online family education guidance platforms, promoting the establishment of community family education guidance centers to guide parents in establishing scientific conceptions of child education, rationally setting expectations for children's growth, and striving to form a common understanding of reducing burdens.

22. Do a good job in the management and control of advertisements for training. Relevant central departments and all levels of Party commission and government should strengthen the management of advertising for extracurricular training, ensuring that mainstream media, new media, public venues, all types of advertising post in neighborhoods, and online platforms do not publish or disseminate advertisements for extracurricular training. Commercial advertising activities must not be carried out in primary and secondary schools or kindergartens, and advertisements must not be published or indirectly published in primary or secondary school's and kindergartens' teaching materials, supplementary materials, exercise books, stationery, teaching tools, school uniforms, school vehicles, and so forth. In accordance with laws and regulations, strictly investigate and address all types of advertising for extracurricular training in violation of laws and regulations that exaggerate the efficacy of training, mislead the public understanding of education, create parental anxiety.

VII. Solidify and complete pilot project exploration, ensuring appropriate progress in governance work

23. Clarify the requirements for pilot work. When fully carrying out governance efforts, simultaneously designate Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Changzhi, Weihai, and Nantong as national pilots, and other provinces are to select one area to carry out pilots, with items 24, 25, and 26, as the content of the pilots.

24. Resolutely reduce off-campus academic training. Newly review and register existing extracurricular academic training institutions, greatly reducing them gradually, reducing the problem of excessive supply; and, in accordance with laws and regulations, strictly investigate and address institutions with serious problems such as not being qualified, disorderly management, opportunistic profiting, false promotions, and seeking profits in conjunction with schools.

25. Reasonably use resources on and off campus. Encourage schools with the capacity to provide students with interest-based afterschool service activities in non-class times, allowing students to freely select and participate in them. Where afterschool services cannot satisfy the special needs of some students, such as in developing their interests and talents, non-academic extracurricular training institutions may be appropriately brought in to participate in afterschool services, and the departments of education are responsible for organizing the selection and providing choices for schools to use, and for establishing mechanisms for assessment and removal, resolutely canceling the qualifications of training institutions with problems such as low levels of service, maliciously recruiting students in schools, providing services not in accordance with rules, and disrupting school's order of education, teaching, and recruitment.

26. Strengthen regulation of fee collection for training. Adhere to the public-interest character of extracurricular training, fully considering its major traits involving the people's livelihoods, include the fees for extracurricular academic training for compulsory education level students in government pricing guidance management, scientifically and reasonably setting pricing measures, clarifying fee collection standards, and resolutely curbing excessive fees and profits. Through methods such as third-party custody and risk reserves, conduct risk control and management of extracurricular training institutions advance collection of fees and strengthen regulation of loans in the extracurricular training sector, to effectively prevent issues such as difficulties in getting refunds, and 'taking the money and running'.

VIII. Carefully organize implementation to achieve practical results

27. Fully and systemically complete deployments. Strengthen Party leadership of 'two reductions' efforts; each province (autonomous region, directly-governed municipality) Party committee and government should make efforts on the 'two reductions' a major project for the people's livelihood, listed in important agendas, and included in the key tasks of provincial (autonomous region, directly-governed municipality) party committees leading groups on education, refining and improving measures in consideration or local conditions to ensure that 'two reductions' efforts are successfully implemented. School Party organizations should earnestly do a good job of ideological work for teachers, fully mobilizing and expanding teachers' activeness and innovation. Extracurricular training institutions should strengthen their Party construction, giving play to the role of Party organizations as a stronghold.

28. Clarify departmental responsibilities. Education departments should take hold of planning and coordination, collaborating with other relevant departments in the routine regulation of extracurricular training institutions, and guide schools to do a good job in efforts on the 'two reductions'; the departments for publicity and internet information should strengthen publicity and guidance of public opinion, internet information departments should cooperate with departments for education and industry and information technology to do a good job of efforts to regulate online extracurricular training; institutions' departments for allocation of personnel should promptly supplement teacher allocations for primary and secondary schools; reform and development departments should collaborate with departments such as for finance and education to draft standards for schools' afterschool services or collection charges; and collaborate with departments such as for education to draft policies on guiding fee collection by extracurricular training institutions in pilot areas; finance departments should strengthen financial safeguards for schools' afterschool services; departments such as for human resources and social security are to do a good job of efforts related to confirming teachers' performance pay; departments for civil affairs shoud do a good job of efforts to register academic training institutions; departments for market regulation should do a good job of efforts to register non-academic training institutions and regulatory efforts such as for fee collection, advertising, and anti-trust, increase the degree of enforcement and inspections, and collaborate with departments for education to strictly investigate and address training training that violates laws and regulations in accordance with laws and regulations; the political-legal departments should do a good job of efforts related to preserving harmony and stability; the public security departments should strengthen public security administration in accordance with law, jointly carrying out searches and assessment for intelligence information, warnings, and prevention, doing a good job of emergency response efforts for incidents related to stability; the people's bank, bank and insurance regulators, and securities regulation departments are responsible for guiding banks and other institutions to do a good job of risk control efforts for extracurricular training institutions' advance collection of fees, and clean up and rectify the financing and listing of training institutions; and other relevant departments are to perform their responsibilities and take hold of implementation in accordance with their respective duties.

29. Jointly carry out special governance actions. Establish special coordination mechanisms for 'two reduction' efforts, centralizing and organizing special governance actions. Establish specialized work bodies for the coordination mechanism in education departments, to do a good job of planning and coordination and to strengthen guidance of each areas' efforts. Each province (autonomous region, directly-governed municipality) should improve work mechanisms, establish specialized work bodies, and clarify the roadmap, timetable, and persons responsible for the special governance action in accordance with the goals and tasks of "two reductions" efforts. Screen and correct work priorities, key steps, weak regions, and key targets. Strictly punish violations of laws and regulations in accordance with laws and regulations, to form a warning and deterrence.

30. Strengthen oversight, inspections, publicity, and guidance. The implementation of the "two reductions" and the actual efficacy are to be an important part of the content of oversight and inspections, the special rectification of inattention to the interests of the masses, and the supervision and evaluation of the government's performance of education duties. Establish mechanisms for pursuing responsibility; places, departments, schools that do not implement their responsibilities or use inadequate measures, and the related responsible persons, are to be strictly pursued for responsibility in accordance with laws and regulations. Each region should establish regulatory platforms and dedicated phone lines for reporting, clearing channels for the public to make oversight reports. Each province (autonomous region, directly-governed municipality) should promptly summarize good experience and methods in 'two reductions' work, and do a good job of promoting and spreading them. News media should persist in the correct orientation for public opinion, creating a positive social environment.

Each region should do a good job of 'two reduction' efforts for students in the compulsory education phase, and concurrently plan efforts on the governance of extracurricular training for pre-school students aged 3-6 and regular high school students; online training must not be carried out for pre-school children, and it is strictly prohibited to carry out offline academic (including foreign language) training for preschool children under names such as preschool classes, kindergarten to primary school transition classes, or ideological training classes. Do not approve new extracurricular training institutions for preschool children or extracurricular academic training institutions for regular high school students. The management of academic training institutions for regular high school students is to be implemented with reference to these Opinions.

 

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