Seven teams of inspectors have been sent to oversee local education authorities regulating after-school training institutions for primary and secondary school students from May 9 to 15, the Ministry of Education stated officially on its website.
Releasing a guideline in late March this year, the Ministry initiated a mission to tighten the scrutiny on after-school programs, in a bid to ensure proper schooling for children, and to reduce students’ excessive academic burdens.
According to the guideline, local education authorities are required to conduct thorough investigations on all training institutions within their jurisdiction, and close those without official permits.
Exam-oriented training and hiring teachers from public schools are strictly prohibited. Teachers teaching in public school may risk losing their teaching credentials if they are found luring or coercing students to attend after-school training.
The guideline also reads that the training course should not teach anything outside of the school syllabus, and the training institutions should have their course plans, enrollment targets and class schedule approved by the local education authorities.
Because of the competitive Gaokao system and unbalanced education resources in China, overwhelming after-class programs have been a long-time problem. Parents often feel forced to send their children to these after-school programs, which usually come with extra physical and psychological burdens for students.
A China Daily report says there were more than 137 million primary and secondary school students attending after-school training institutions in 2016.
“The real solution for reducing students’ excessive burdens lies in a complete overhaul of China’s exam-oriented education system,” Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Beijing, was quoted saying in the report.