Key document eyes major improvement in compulsory education

Students take part in a sports meeting at Yueyangdao Primary School in Heping district of Tianjin, North China, May 12, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING – Millions of Chinese parents are scrambling to get their children a spot in much sought-after extra-curriculum classes during the summer vacation, hoping their kids can get a head start over their peers.

The long-criticized pressure and excessive competition among students are just part of the problems facing China’s basic education.

To address that, central authorities on Monday published a key guideline for advancing education reform and improving the quality of compulsory education.

China’s nine-year free compulsory education system covers primary school and junior middle school.

Hard-working spirit

“Labor education” will be further incorporated into the education system to foster citizens with an all-round moral, intellectual, physical and aesthetic grounding, in addition to a hard-working spirit, according to the guideline.

It highlighted the role of labor education, which may range from household chores to on-campus labor to voluntary community services, in encouraging students to participate in more manual labor to boost their hard-working spirit.

Identifying labor education the “shortest board” in the country’s education system, vice education minister Zheng Fuzhi said such education must be strengthened with the aim to “cultivate a right view of the world, life and values and develop an interest in doing labor.”

The ministry will formulate new guidelines on promoting labor education in primary and secondary schools and higher learning institutions and syllabuses for labor education, Zheng told a press conference Tuesday.

He also stressed sufficient venues for labor education, calling for building more practice bases for students to experience agricultural, manufacturing and service sectors.