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November 5, 2013

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Home » Metro » Education

Too much homework gets school bad mark

A LOCAL primary school was ordered to cut the amount of homework given to pupils, after being criticized by the Ministry of Education in its latest public inspection report.

The Hongkou District No. 2 Central Primary School said yesterday that it has now reduced the homework issued.

All first-graders will finish required written exercises in class and the amount of homework for second-grade students has been lowered in line with regulations, said an official.

The school was found to be assigning so much copying work that children had to stay up late and were not getting sufficient sleep.

Teachers also used time that should have been devoted to PE and activities classes to teach Chinese, mathematics and English, in breach of rules.

According to the regulations issued by the Shanghai Education Commission, local primary schools shouldn’t assign any written homework to first and second-grade students.

For students in grades three to six, they should be able to finish their homework in an hour, and for seven to nine grades, homework assigned should be finished in no more than 90 minutes.

Despite these strict rules, parents said teachers would assign homework secretly and require parents to sign their names after children finish the assignment.

Lu Pei, a Chinese teacher at Hongxing Primary School, said teachers have no choice but give the homework because children could not remember all the words required for a teaching objective with only a little writing practice in class.

“I think a proper amount of written homework is good for children who have just started school,” Lu said.

“Chinese characters are more difficult than English words, and it will be good for them if they have good handwriting, which requires practice.”

A mother surnamed Cai of a first-grader at a local public school, said her son needed an hour every day to finish all his written and oral homework.

“The teacher says homework can help children remember words. My son learns three to four new Chinese characters every day and they have quizzes in class,” Cai said.

Inspectors also found too  much homework was being issued at schools in neighboring Zhejiang Province, while students at schools in Anhui, Hebei and Hainan provinces were obliged to take extra classes after school.

The Ministry of Education asked education authorities in each province and city to supervise schools that have broken the rules and to strengthen checks to prevent excessive homework and extra classes.



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