China Passed a Law to Reduce Homework Pressure on Students
In October of 2021, China passed a law to reduce pressure on students by curbing homework as well as off-site tutoring for core subjects. What this means isn’t 100 percent clear. In part, this is because the full law wasn’t revealed at the time. However, much of the implementation has been entrusted to local governments, which are bound to diverge even while working towards the same outcome. Still, the details that have been revealed makes it clear that China is very serious about this matter. After all, it has outright banned for-profit tutoring starting in January of 2022, which meant collapsing a 2 trillion yuan sector that once employed 10 million people.
Why Was This Done?
People who are unfamiliar with the matter might find it very strange. After all, tutoring tends to be seen as being beneficial for students, so banning for-profit tutoring seems like a huge overreaction. However, there are real reasons for the new law.
A student’s academic performance has an enormous impact on the rest of their life in China. As a result, there is enormous pressure on them to excel, which in turn, means that it is extremely common for them to receive tutoring outside of class time for the purpose of providing them with a competitive edge. There is a survey that says that more than 80 percent of Chinese parents believe that tutoring is necessary for even primary and middle school students. Moreover, close to 60 percent of them are willing to spend half or more of their household’s disposable income on it.
Unsurprisingly, this has a huge effect on a student’s health and happiness, which is clear to both the student and the student’s parents. Unfortunately, a single family had limited options for resisting this trend. Certainly, the parents could ease the pressure on their child. However, if they did so, their child would start falling behind their peers. Something that could have very negative consequences for them in the long run. As such, one line of thought is that the people couldn’t break the trend on their initiative. Instead, it had to be done by the government.
As for why the government was so motivated, the pressure put on Chinese students was doing very real damage. Burnout is the issue that gets talked about the most. However, the government has also talked about inequality, which is a serious issue that is getting more and more attention in Chinese society.
Simply put, wealthier parents can spend more resources on their children, thus making for improved outcomes when compared with their poorer counterparts. The problem is that this issue isn’t something that can be solved with ease. After all, even though for-profit tutoring has been banned, there are plenty of other ways for wealthier parents to give their children an advantage. Still, the focus on this issue provides useful insight into what the government is thinking.
Why Is China Intervening in Such a Dramatic Manner in Recent Times?
Reducing the pressure on Chinese students isn’t the only law that the Chinese government has passed in recent times. For example, another law reduced the number of hours that Chinese youth were allowed to play online games. Similarly, another law cracked down on social media sites that encouraged users to engage in self-harming behavior, with an excellent example being idol fans being encouraged to buy as much merchandise as possible for the purpose of seeing their favorites beat out other competitors on official lists.
It isn’t quite clear why the Chinese government is taking such dramatic action. After all, it has a reputation for being opaque to outsiders, particularly since it likes to feign unity even though it has internal disputes in much the same manner as any other governments. However, one line of thought is that the Chinese government believes that rapid modernization has created serious threats to the happiness of the Chinese population, which in turn, threatens the stability of Chinese society. As a result, it is intervening to combat those threats, though whether it will be successful or not remains to be seen.