China / Hot Issues

China anti-decadence drive reaches student trips

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-07-15 11:13

BEIJING - After warning officials to shun hedonism and avoid overseas travel on public funds, China is now telling organizers of educational trips for school students: study more, sightsee less.

A manual released Monday by the Ministry of Education stipulates that educational courses and activities should occupy at least half the itinerary for study-themed overseas trips for primary and middle school students.

Usually paid for by families with prestigious schools and universities as destinations, short overseas trips in the name of education are a popular choice for well-off parents who hope to broaden their children's views and inspire their study.

"Short-term overseas study trips during students' holidays have become a booming business in recent years. However, problems frequently plague these trips due to inadequate management and supervision," the statement said, noting the trips often involve incompetent organizing, arbitrary pricing and a focus on sightseeing rather than education.

Setting detailed requirements for activities, duration, destinations and safety issues, it stresses that such trips should be organized closely in line with school curricula and have "a clear and rewarding educational goal as well as a tight and proper study schedule."

"Considering students' physical and mental conditions, it is recommended that, in general, trips for primary school students should not last more than three weeks, and for middle school students no more than six weeks. Each trip may not involve more than two countries, and cities visited in each country may not exceed four," it said.

Meanwhile, organizers are told to first check the legitimacy and capacity of overseas schools and holiday camp groups if they want to partner with them to hold such trips.

The statement urges organizers to map out emergency plans and arrange at least one teacher for every ten students during a trip. They should also keep in contact with students' parents on a regular basis to report progress, and if conditions permit, once per day.

According to the ministry, the manual aims to guide organizers to improve such trips, and schools and international exchange institutes under educational administrations should set an example by following the instructions.

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