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Has The “Double Reduction” Policy Achieved the Goals?

Last summer, the Chinese government released the new "double reduction" policy (Further Reduce the Burden of Compulsory Education Students' Homework and Off-school Training). All the profit tutoring in school subjects was banned, and it also caused an earthquake in the Chinese education market.

In China, even though tutoring is costly, parents signing their children up is as common as grocery shopping after work. The high school and college entrance exam systems are rigorous. To win the competition, parents must guarantee their children put all their effort into studying. Therefore, both parents and children have suffered a heavy burden. As the government's explanation, the "Double Reduction" policy is aimed at this situation. One of the main goals is to reduce the burden and anxiety of parents, returning a creative childhood to children.

Now one year has passed, has the target changed the situation effectively?

According to the high school entrance rate, half of the students cannot continue their academic studies and will go to vocational schools or work directly. However, for most Chinese parents, vocational education is not a satisfying choice. In China, getting into an excellent high school is like having one foot in the door of a university; Getting into a good university means a higher chance of getting a good job. However, both the teaching quality and the educational environment of vocational schools are difficult to compare with that of high schools, and entering vocational schools means having a tiny chance to go to universities.

Even though tutoring was banned, the difficulty of exams still exists. This challenge has made parents more anxious about their children's future, and many are reaching out to private tutors who can offer the courses after school. These private lessons are paid by the hour, and not only the children's stress does not decrease, but the cost of learning goes up. Parents say that as long as the pressure of entrance exams exists, they cannot relax and that getting their children into a good college remains most people's first choice.

Other purposes of the "Double Reduction" policy

If we scrutinize the content of this policy, we can find more hidden important information. Among them, the ban on listing training institutions and the prohibition on hiring non-Chinese teachers have to be thought-provoking. The government made such regulations to avoid capital control of education and to prevent children from being influenced too much by Western ideology in the process of ideological formation.

In the absence of fundamental changes in China's education and examination systems, it is reasonable to assume that this is the essential purpose of the "Double Reduction" policy. But these effects will take a long time to manifest, and it is too early to say whether the government will succeed in achieving its goals.

Equity in education is the key to solving the problems

China is a country where parents prize an excellent education. The massive demand for high-quality education resources causes a highly competitive environment. The great anxiety of parents and students stems fundamentally from the need for equity in education, not only in the distribution of educational resources but also in the examination system.

Only canceling off-school training cannot effectively reduce the burden on the people. In the long run, the key is to improve vocational education quality, balance educational resources distribution among regions, and perfect the fair and equitable examination and selection system.