Beijing vows to effectively reduce education burden by 2021, barring off-campus classes on holidays
Published: Aug 17, 2021 11:01 PM
One-on-one online education Photo: VCG

One-on-one online education Photo: VCG

Beijing authorities on Tuesday vowed to effectively control after-school tutoring and reduce the pressure on students and parents by the end of 2021 by barring off-campus classes on weekends and holidays and supervising private tutoring agencies, as part of the country's overhaul of the sector.

For primary and junior high school, no new licenses will be granted to institutions for curricular tutoring, and currently qualified institutions are not allowed to arrange classes on weekends, public holidays, or during the winter and summer vacations, according to a press conference held on Tuesday. 

Beijing authorities said free online tutoring services should be provided. 

Schools will also offer more extracurricular activities, and students are encouraged to play more sports. 

Outstanding teachers may be rotated among several schools to enhance education fairness.

Beijing's specific policies came after a notice issued by the General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, on July 24, in a bid to reduce students' and parents' pressure and rein in the disorderly expansion of the industry. 

A former math teacher at industry giant TAL Education's Beijing branch told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that support staff such as administrators and human resources personnel will be the first to be fired, but teachers, especially the less experienced and those who went to lesser-known universities, cannot avoid layoffs either.

Support staffs are struggling to find new jobs as their skills are not that unique, but teachers may have to take a licensing exam and try to find jobs at public schools, or do something totally different, the Global Times learned. 

 "People are very pessimistic about the industry. Some left voluntarily because they felt they would be fired sooner or later, and some actually were fired," the former TAL employee said. "I am trying to work independently without an institution, but that's not very secure or stable." 

Beijing officials said at the Tuesday press conference that 90 percent of employees at after-school tutoring firms are under 35, and 80 percent received undergraduate or higher education. The city has divided the affected people into four categories - teaching, support staff, management and sales - and helped match them up with some 90,000 jobs.

The Global Times learned from an employee in the education product sector of ByteDance that his department is experiencing major adjustment. 

The K-9 business (the major target of the latest policies) will be cut and personnel will be dispatched to the adult education, and non-curricular businesses. 

Parents may feel relieved about the eased economic burden, but they still have concerns. 

A mother of a second grade student in Beijing surnamed Tu told the Global Times on Tuesday that as long as admission to junior and senior high schools is competitive, sending children to extra tutoring still sounds temptive for many parents.