China's Reform on Basic Education
"... Mr Schleicher says the results reveal a picture of a society investing individually and collectively in education.Amid this success, China is now paying attention to an unwanted side-effect of its successful education system: Excessive academic burden on children. The country is concerned about its children not being afforded a balanced and healthy environment to grow. To address this problem, the Ministry of Education has drafted ten rules to guide China's new reform on education. The rules are currently open for public comment from its citizens and these rules are as follows:
On a recent trip to a poor province in China, he says he saw that schools were often the most impressive buildings.
He says in the West, it is more likely to be a shopping centre.
"You get an image of a society that is investing in its future, rather than in current consumption."
There were also major cultural differences when teenagers were asked about why people succeeded at school.
"North Americans tell you typically it's all luck. 'I'm born talented in mathematics, or I'm born less talented so I'll study something else.'
"In Europe, it's all about social heritage: 'My father was a plumber so I'm going to be a plumber'.
"In China, more than nine out of 10 children tell you: 'It depends on the effort I invest and I can succeed if I study hard.'
"They take on responsibility. They can overcome obstacles and say 'I'm the owner of my own success', rather than blaming it on the system.""
- So that local governments are able to promote a balanced compulsory education, enrollment in any school should not be based on grades or certificates. It must be based solely on residence ("nearest school" admissions policy)
- Students and teachers are to be placed in classrooms randomly. No tracking is allowed.
- All entering students must be assumed to be starting at zero. No advanced classes nor accelerated programs are allowed.
- There should be no homework. Parents or communities, however, can engage their children in field trips, crafts' activities, and library visits.
- There are no standardized exams for Grades 1 through 3. Standardized exams are to be given only once per term and other tests cannot be given more than twice per semester.
- No numerical grades will be given, only qualitative descriptions, "Excellent", "Good", "Qualified", and "To Be Qualified", will be used.
- Beyond the textbook, neither schools nor teachers should recommend supplementary materials.
- Extra instruction after regular school hours, during holidays and breaks, is forbidden.
- There should be a minimum of one hour per day for physical exercise and recess.
- Supervisors at all levels are to be held accountable for the implementation of these rules.