CHINA / SOCIETY
26-year-old tutoring center in leading Shanghai university closes amid nation’s call to reduce students’ study burden
Published: Aug 22, 2021 06:47 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG



The 26-year-old tutoring center of East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai has announced it will terminate its relevant businesses. The move follows the country's call to further reduce the off-campus training burden for students, triggering a wide discussion online on Sunday.

Founded in 1995, the tutoring center under the ECNU, a leading Chinese university, has provided tutoring services for over 10,000 families every year, and offered part-time jobs for college students. 

The center said it will release specific plans to return tutoring fees to parents and related processes before Wednesday.

Some netizens expressed regret over the center's termination as some have benefited greatly from the tutoring services but others said it is the "right" thing to follow the country's guidelines and reduce the off-campus study burden for students.

On July 24, Chinese authorities released guidelines to reduce the burden of off-campus tutoring as well as excessive homework for students undergoing compulsory education.

The tutoring center's move indicates that organized "in-door" tutoring will not be allowed under the country's new policy, Xiong Bingqi, director of 21st Century Education Research Institute in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.

However, it will raise a new question about how to supervise those parents that invite private tutors. 

If parents' needs for training their children cannot be satisfied, it's quite possible that they might "seek private training," which might lead to disorder in the tutoring market and disputes between parents and tutors in the illegal market, Xiong predicted. 

Shanghai is scheduled to release detailed policies to reduce the education burden, as part of China's overhaul of the sector to regulate expanded private tutoring agencies, China Securities Journal reported on Sunday. The advertising of education and training institutions in many channels including the internet, new media, and outdoor signs are all expected to be removed, the report said.

On Sunday, Shanghai Consumer Council and Shanghai education authorities released six reminders for training organizations and parents, calling for parents to arrange off-campus time in a reasonable way for their children. Based on the reminders, an off-campus training institution will not charge a fee for a period of over three months at a time. 

Some regions including Beijing and Northwest China's Gansu Province have announced specific detailed measures to reduce the burden on students such as not granting any new licenses to institutions for curricular tutoring for primary and junior high schools in Beijing. 

Many parents and training centers are still standing by and waiting for news on the situation. A high school teacher from Shanghai told the Global Times on Sunday that teachers welcome the policy as they want their students to make the most of their in-class time, rather than spending extended periods learning outside the classroom.

"I welcome this policy as I hope children can spend their weekends playing sports, going on trips or learning about art," one parent whose daughter will move into grade three in the upcoming new semester in Shanghai told the Global Times on Sunday.

However, another parent surnamed Li, whose daughter is in grade six at a Shanghai school, has concerns about the changes. "I am still watching the matter. I have some concerns, because if no off-campus training organizations can provide services, what should I do with my daughter on the weekends?" Li told the Global Times on Sunday.

When talking about the risks that the change in polices will bring, Beijing Municipal Education Commission spokesman Li Yi said during a press conference on August 17 that the focus should be on whether the overall construction of a high-quality education system can finally be achieved after all efforts are made.

 
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