No summer relief for kindergarten pupils

Updated: 2013-07-25 09:08

By Wu Ni (China Daily)

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Appropriate knowledge

To make "zero start" an effective policy, Li suggested it should be implemented at every stage of school, which means that students, no matter whether they are in primary or middle school, only need to master knowledge appropriate to their age group, "or else there will always be parents who push their children for an early start".

Yang Xiong, director of the Institute for Teenage Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, believes a change in parental attitudes is essential if their system is to be overhauled. "Nothing will change if parents don't update their concept of education. I have been contacted by many parents from across the country and when we talk about lightening the academic load on children, their first response is 'how should we deal with the zhongkao (the middle school entrance test) and the gaokao, then? In this regard, it's difficult to ease the children's burden," he said.

"It's important for the authorities to establish a comprehensive supervision system, which will impose strict limitations on both schools and families, and provide children with a free and happy time for growth," Yang noted.

At a preschool forum held in June, Yin Houqing, an inspector at the Shanghai Education Commission, said the commission will publish the academic requirements for every subject online when the new semester begins in September. Parents will be able to use the guidelines as a reference point by which they can judge their children's academic results.

Not all observers are pleased by the new rules, which they believe to be difficult to enforce and ill-conceived.

"In the kindergarten, the children are told to play as happily as they can, but outside they are driven to study as hard as they can. What a contradiction," said Jiayi's grandmother.

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Wang Hongyi contributed to this story.

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