Following a recent regulation released by the Shanghai Ministry of Education, the city is monitoring teaching grade-inappropriate syllabus at kindergartens which, according to a report by Shine, has caused unrest among parents.
According to the new regulation, primary-school level subjects such as Chinese phonics, Chinese characters, arithmetic and English are prohibited at pre-schools and kindergartens.
Additionally, kindergarten teachers are also discouraged from training pre-school kids in academic skills like recitation, memorization, copying and calculation. Educators should instead draw inspiration from children’s interests, encourage them to play, and acquire practical skills.
As expected, such modifications of a widely accepted educational model has made a splash among local parents. “If kindergartens don’t teach these subjects now, how are my kids supposed to pass primary school entrance examinations?” a parent commented on Netease. “My kid goes to a bilingual kindergarten. Does [learning a foreign language] count as ‘grade-inappropriate content’?” another parent wrote.
To appease parents’ anxiety, the Shanghai Education Commission has accordingly advised primary schools of the city to revise the subjects included in their entrance examinations. In the future, children will be assessed in terms of physical health, language development, scientific cognition and learning ability.
It turns out that the new regulation is meant to lighten the burden of early-years education. To prevent parents from shoehorning their little ones into ‘head-starters’ upon entering primary school, private educational agents are also ordered to cease instructing primary school contents in advance.
“The new regulation must be enforced at kindergartens as well as at training centers,” Xiong Bingqi, vice director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, emphasized in an interview with Shine. “Otherwise, parents would still sign their kids up for all kinds of after-school classes, therefore debasing the philosophy promoted by the new regulation.”
Since last year, over 500 training centers in Shanghai have been shut down for failing to meet updated standards. A more thorough inspection will be carried out by the Shanghai Education Commission before April 2019, to invigilate the enforcement of the new regulation.
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