CHINA: China banned written exams for six- and seven-year-old students on Monday. This decision was taken to focus on education reforms aimed at relieving pressure on pupils and parents in China’s hyper-competitive school system.
Previously, China’s education system required students to take exams from first grade onwards. This step was taken to ensure that the students score well in the highly feared university entrance exam known as gaokao.
“Too frequent exams … which cause students to be overburdened and under huge exam pressure,” have been axed by the Ministry of Education, according to new guidelines released Monday.
The ministry said that the pressure on pupils from a young age “harms their mental and physical health.
Along with this, the regulations also limit exams in other years of compulsory education to once a term. The mid-term and mock examinations are allowed in junior high school.
The exams ban is a part of wider government reforms of China’s education sector.
In late July, China ordered all private tutoring firms to turn non-profit. They also barred tutoring agencies from giving lessons in core subjects at weekends and holidays.
The main motive is to reduce China’s education inequality, where some middle-class parents willingly fork out 100,000 yuan ($15,400) or more per year on private tutoring to get their children into top schools.
With population growth at its slowest in decades, Chinese authorities lifted a two-child birth limit earlier this year and wish to increase incentives for parents to have more children.
The Ministry of Education also banned written homework for first- and second-graders and limited homework for junior high students to no more than 1.5 hours per night.