According to state media, China has passed an education regulation aimed at lowering the stress of heavy schoolwork and intensive after-school tutoring.
Parents are urged to ensure that their children get enough rest and exercise, and that they do not spend too much time online. Written exams for children aged six and seven were abolished in China in August.
Officials cautioned that pupils’ physical and mental health was being jeopardised at the time. The government has also taken a number of steps in the last year to curb children’s “addiction” to the internet and popular culture.
The National People’s Congress Standing Committee, the country’s main legislative body, approved the latest proposal on Saturday.
Although the law’s exact wording has yet to be released, media reports imply that it encourages parents to cultivate their children’s morals, intellectual growth, and social manners. Implementation will be the responsibility of the local government, which will include money for “enriching extracurricular activities.” On the social networking site Weibo, some users praised the rule for encouraging excellent parenting, while others questioned if local governments or parents themselves would be up to the task.
“I work 996 [from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week], and I still have to do family education when I get home at night.” According to the South China Morning Post, one user inquired.
“You can’t exploit the employees and expect them to have children at the same time.”
Beijing took away the ability of online tutoring companies operating in the country to profit from teaching essential courses in July. The new rules also limited foreign investment in the industry and upset the private tutoring industry, which was worth roughly $120 billion (£87 billion) before the changes.
The action was interpreted at the time as officials attempting to alleviate the financial strains of raising children, following China’s record low birth rate.
Inequality in education is also a problem, with more affluent parents prepared to spend thousands of dollars to enroll their children in prestigious schools.