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Double Reduction Policy

3 Sep 2021

Prayer Updates / Featured

Double Reduction Policy

It’s been a disconcerting couple of months for our friends and co-workers in China's education industries. Confusion and panic erupted as word began circulating that big changes were afoot in the private sector. And sure enough, on  July 23rd 2021, the Chinese government pounded the industry and its investors by releasing a draft policy that will require firms operating private tutoring and education services to convert to non-profit. New start-ups will not be allowed. Also banned will be core-curriculum tutoring of school children during weekends and vacations, foreign curricula and text books, and hiring foreigners outside of China to teach remotely.

The document was titled, “On the further alleviation of compulsory education: Opinions on the burden of homework and after-school tutoring”. Also among the 30 measures offered were steps to reduce homework, standardize education services and ban online tutoring of pre-schoolers.  The policy will first be trialled in 9 major cities including Beijing and Shanghai beginning September, before being extended to the whole country.

It’s well known that children in China suffer from intense academic competition, and unrelenting study schedules that stretch well beyond school hours. These new laws will provide relief – at least during the holidays.  But easing stress is not the primary motivation behind the laws. Rather, the government hopes to ease the burden on its upper-middle-class parents who feel they must invest heavily in their child’s education to give them a head start. By preventing parents from spending money on online English tutors, expensive private education, and test preparation tutoring for entrance exams into middle and high schools, it’s hoped they will now consider investing in raising another child and help the nation with its crippling demographic problems.

Of course there are other drivers for the change, such as seeking greater equity in the education field and the ever present desire of the state to combat 'foreign influence' and  maintain total control over ideological education.

There are a large number of teachers outside of China working remotely via Chinese based online ESL (English as a second language) companies. These companies are allowed to complete the delivery of service packages already paid up front before the 8th August. But the offshore teachers are now fearful they may not receive their final salary as their Chinese employers feel the impact of the law change. Many teachers are already racing to find work with companies in other nations, and abandoning contracts, in order to keep bread on the table.

With their permitted work hours now limited to after school during weekdays (with teaching after 9.00 at night banned since April) and during the school term, tutoring companies are freezing hiring, inflicting pay cuts and are frantically redirecting their services to adult teaching, parenting courses (an emerging market) or elsewhere.

On top of this, rrumours have been circulating that the government wants to close down every English training school.  All schools have recently been inspected.  Thankfully, our co-workers say their schools have passed inspections with flying colours. Despite this, some schools have been 'advised' by local education officials that they should not enrol new students for the following term. Overall, the industry is in shock - both local staff, and foreign teachers.

Prayer Points

Remember Christian teachers before God who are laid off as a result of the 720 Policy, both in and out of China. Ask the Father to help them find new employment.

Pray for teachers close to retirement who may have difficulty obtaining retirement packages after being out of their countries, or that find it difficult to find other employment opportunities.

Pray for peace in the hearts and minds of teachers during this disconcerting time.

Pray that any special friendships built with students can be upkept through WeChat or other sources so that these students will not feel abandoned.

Pray more Christian teachers will actually go and teach in person in China.

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