Students find life easier this winter break
New policy reduces pressure from homework and extracurricular tutoring
Students in China have been enjoying a more relaxed winter vacation after the introduction of a policy aimed at easing the pressure of homework and extracurricular tutoring.
Xu Hanzhang, a fifth grade student in Beijing, said it has been the happiest winter holiday she has experienced, thanks to the double reduction policy, as she does not need to take any tutoring courses.
The girl's mother, who did not want to be named, said that in the past Xu took online lessons in Chinese language, math and English, as many other parents signed their children up for such courses.
"With everyone taking these courses, you felt you were missing out if your children just stayed home and did nothing," the mother said.
Winter vacations used to see students shuffling between tutoring centers to make up for missed classes and to prepare for the forthcoming semester, she said.
However, as such courses are now forbidden during public holidays and winter and summer vacations, Xu has been relaxing by reading books, doing handicrafts and taking physical exercise, the mother said.
The girl is also watching the Winter Olympics and reading comics, her parent said, adding: "She is enjoying the winter break much more than she used to. I also feel more relaxed, as other parents have stopped trying to engage in intense academic competition."
Just as adults need a break from long working hours, children who spend almost all their spare time studying will gradually lose interest in learning when they are older, the mother said.
The double reduction policy was launched in July after students became involved in endless academic competition, with their parents signing them up for as many tutoring courses as possible. The policy was introduced to let schools take the main responsibility for children's education and to enable students to enjoy all-around development.
According to the Ministry of Education, after the policy was implemented, the number of offline off-campus academic training institutions fell by some 84 percent, as did the number of online training institutions. More than 91 percent of students now take part in after-school activities on campus.