World China bans written exams for elementary school students

EDUCATION Beijing embarked on a comprehensive education reform last month

Seeking to alleviate the pressure on students, seen as a brake on the birth rate, China on Monday banned exams written for
children aged 6 and 7 to
primary school.

Beijing embarked on a sweeping education reform last month, where the excessive workload of schoolchildren and the prohibitive costs of tutoring are increasingly criticized.

Education in China is particularly competitive and elitist, in order to pass the lifelong exam, the “gaokao,” which determines whether or not you enter higher education at the end of high school. According to new guidelines released on Monday by the Education Ministry, it will no longer be possible to hold written exams in the first and second year of primary school.

“Too frequent examinations overload the students and subject them to enormous pressure,” said the ministry. This “harms their mental and physical health,” he said. The authorities had already set the tone last month, by banning private tutoring classes on weekends and during school holidays.

The move caused an earthquake in the lucrative commercial education sector and made employment for millions of teachers uncertain. Obsessed with the success of their offspring, Chinese parents usually enroll their children in a multitude of out-of-school courses, which are often very expensive.

Those who can afford it also buy accommodation near the best schools so that they can send their children there. A phenomenon that is causing real estate prices to jump. But the financial burden of a quality education is often what deters Chinese couples from having children, as authorities seek to boost the birth rate amid an economic slowdown.

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