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China's Education Proposal Could Mean Less Homework For Students

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CHINESE STUDENTS
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For young students in China, school may soon be a lot less stressful.

According to state television network CCTV, the country’s Ministry of Education recently released a proposal to lighten the workload of Chinese students. The suggested regulations were open for public comment in late August and will be amended based on that feedback.

If enacted, the regulations would signify major changes for Chinese schools. According to the proposal, primary school children would not be allowed to write homework and would only be assigned "experiential homework" involving field trips, crafts, or other hands-on activities. Additionally, schools would have to reduce testing for their youngest students.

According to education scholar Dr. Yong Zhao, schools would also offer physical education classes, while prohibiting after-hours instruction.

The new reforms will likely be enacted in the near future, with China Daily noting that "it seems beyond doubt that the new rules will come into effect soon."

In a CCTV video, parents generally reacted positively to the proposed rules.

"It's good that the homework will be cut down, but I think for senior primary school pupils certain pieces of written homework must be assigned to help them understand and consolidate their knowledge," one parent said in the video.

Though China has outperformed other countries on international tests in recent years, some worry that its schools have become hotbeds for anxiety and stress. The Chinese government has been enacting education reforms in an effort to promote creativity and lessen the pressures on students.

"We have seen the advantages and the disadvantages of our education system, and our students' abilities are still weak," Xiong Bingqi, a Chinese education expert, told the Los Angeles Times in 2011. "They do very well in those subjects the teacher assigns them. They have huge vocabularies and they do math well. However, the level of their creativity and imagination is low."

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