China passes law to reduce schoolwork to convince parents to have more children
Sylvie Claire / October 23, 2021
China passed a law on Saturday to limit homework and extracurricular classes, a move that aims to reduce the heavy pressure on students, state media reported.
In the name of youth protection, the government has enacted several paternalistic rules in recent months to combat activities it deems harmful to children's development. It has already banned minors from playing online games for more than three hours a week to combat addiction and has drastically reduced the use of private tutoring. In recent weeks, the government has also taken more ideological measures against the idolization of celebrities, television shows deemed vulgar and effeminate artists.
From now on, local authorities will have to strengthen their supervision to reduce the burden of homework and extracurricular classes on students, the China News Agency reported, citing the law passed by China's parliament on Saturday. Parents must reasonably allocate time for minors to study, rest, entertainment and physical activity so as not to increase their learning burden and avoid internet addiction. This so-called family education promotion law will go into effect on January 1, 2022.
The school system is very selective in China. From childhood, Chinese students prepare for the university entrance exam at age 18, which determines whether and where they can enter higher education. In this context, many parents spend fortunes to place their children in the best schools or to enroll them in private lessons, which puts a strain on their finances and on the health of their offspring. Faced with an aging population, a side effect of decades of birth control policies, China is trying to reverse the trend and now allows couples to have three children. But faced with the reluctance of parents, chilled by the costs of education, the authorities hope to convince them to have children by trying to reduce the schooling burden.