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After-school tutoring market needs to be strongly regulated

China Daily | Updated: 2021-06-18 06:59
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Students attend an English-language course at a New Oriental Education and Technology branch in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

The Ministry of Education recently set up a special department to oversee after-school tutoring supervision for primary and secondary school students, including kindergarten kids, formulate relevant standards and policies, and organize the implementation of comprehensive governance.

The establishment of such a targeted institution shows that the top authorities attach great importance to the supervision of off-campus tutoring.

For some time now, off-campus tutoring institutes have aroused wide public concern. Parents want their children to have a healthy and happy childhood, but fearing that their children may not be up for the fierce competition that lies ahead, they enroll their children for after-school tutoring.

Given the rush for off-campus tutoring, there is a need for the authorities to regulate this sector and guide its standardized development, while preventing it from becoming just a profit-making system.

The authorities have indicated how serious they are about supervising the market. Earlier this year, they introduced a document on reducing the homework and off-campus tutoring burden on students, while market supervision authorities imposed the highest penalty on 15 off-campus tutoring institutions.

However, past practices indicate that many challenges exist for such kind of supervision, from setting standards for the teaching, to addressing false claims and chaotic fees. Scattered regulatory targets, numerous departments involved and lack of specialized regulatory forces have also led to the impotent implementation of relevant measures.

Off-school tutoring should be a supplement to school education and an effective means to meet children's differentiated, personalized and diversified learning needs. However, if not disciplined, this system will amplify educational anxiety and destroy educational fairness, forming a vicious circle of "reduced burden at school but increased burden outside school".

Be it the establishment of a supervising agency under the Ministry of Education or the reform of the after-school tutoring system, or the heavy blow dealt by relevant departments to the sprawling off-campus tutoring sector, what the authorities want to do is bring off-campus tutoring onto a standardized track.

Reducing the burden of off-campus tutoring on students hinges on the supervision of the off-campus tutoring market. The country also needs to comprehensively improve the quality of school education and further promote the balanced development of education.

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