This Chinese Province Doesn’t Want Kids Studying Over Winter Holiday

Some Weibo users have speculated that authorities want fewer people to be educated in order to have more manual laborers in China

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Jesse Pottinger
3:08 AM HKT, Wed January 26, 2022 1 mins read

On January 13, the Henan Provincial Department of Education vaguely announced that students who attend curriculum-based training programs, also known as cram schools, over the winter holiday would have the activity noted in their “personal management files.”

According to the Chinese publication Jieman News, the department encourages students to sign a letter of commitment promising not to partake in any out-of-school tutoring programs.

Henan Provincial Department of Education Notice

Screengrab via Weibo

Earlier this year, China’s State Council introduced a wave of restrictions for the country’s booming for-profit tutoring industry, including calls to transition all curriculum-based tutoring businesses into not-for-profit entities.

The regulations also ban the establishment of new for-profit tutoring businesses, limit tutoring to school days, and bar foreign investment and market capitalization in the industry.

Nonetheless, the demand for tutoring is still high among many Chinese parents eager to give their children a leg up in an increasingly competitive world. So, while the services may not be as accessible as they were a year ago, people are still finding similar underground educational resources for their kids.

Henan province has seen a recent spike in Covid-19 cases, leading to a partial lockdown, halted access to public venues, and a ban on cross-provincial travel. As a result, the announcement from the Henan Education Department noted that using the services of tutoring agencies presents a public health risk under the current circumstances.

Netizens seem to be largely unimpressed with the announcement. Some Weibo users speculated that authorities want fewer people to be educated because of the enormous demand for manual labor in China.

“You have to work hard in line with the leaders’ instructions. If everyone is studying hard, who will be a factory worker?” one user commented.

“We cannot solely view education from the perspective of economics,” another opined.

Ensuring total compliance with the new restrictions will undoubtedly be challenging. It is unclear from the notice how Henan authorities intend to monitor the afterschool activities of the province’s youth, nor does it say the consequences for having tutoring activities marked on a student’s file.

Cover image via Depositphotos

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