China is preparing to make life easier for school going children in the country. The Department of Education in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang posted a proposal last week that says teachers should be banned from using WeChat, QQ or other mobile apps to assign homework or ask parents to grade students’ assignments. China has seen increased boom in mobile use and phones have become an extension of daily activities including school practices. Teachers in the country have increasingly taken to WeChat to assign homework instead of announcing them in class or handing out notices to students.
According to TechCrunch, many teachers are using digital platforms to assign homework and ask parents to help students with problem sets. These platforms are also being used to grade their homework. The new regional call to action comes after a set of national guidelines were released by the Ministry of Education in October. The guidelines directed teachers and schools to take more responsibilities rather than shift their workload onto parents. “Teachers should be accountable for their job, treat teaching seriously, correct homework with prudence and help students with care.”
However, not all school use digital platforms such as WeChat to an extent that demands regulation. A Shenzhen-based parent told TechCrunch that their second-grader still does much of her homework in written form and the involvement of parents is moderate. “I think sometimes media are painting teachers and schools in such a negative light just to get attention,” the parent told the publication.
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The national notice also includes other recommendations including limiting the amount of online homework to reduce nearsightedness. The Chinese government has also ordered video-game publishers to cap children’s playing time while the Ministry of Education has asked schools and universities to audit apps used by teachers and students on campus. Despite the limitations on digital platforms for distributing school homework, education related apps continue to flourish in the country.