Target: Chinese Ministry of Education
Goal: To commend China’s Ministry of Education on their efforts to reform an older, more traditional form of education.
Recently, China officials at the Ministry of Education (MOE) have been pushing to shift away from the tradition of required homework. If passed, the current draft would ban teachers from issuing written take-home assignments. With eliminating the excess work the children are required to do at home, more trips to museums and libraries would be planned, as well as more hands-on work such as farm experience and crafts. For children attending third grade or lower, the drafted proposal would prohibit any unified testing to be conducted. For children in the fourth grade and higher, testing could only be mandatory twice per subject, per semester. Enrollment exams for entrance into secondary schools would also be prohibited, alongside placing students into groups based on exam results.
Within recent years, there have been a handful of reported cases involving Chinese students who had committed suicide due to receiving failing grades in classrooms, on tests, or being denied acceptance into a school. By China focusing on relieving some of the stresses and burdens Chinese students endure, hopefully the changes will put an end to that recent trend. The efforts being taken by the MOE show they are attempting to follow in the path of Finland, who placed 1st in science, and second in reading and math according to the Program for International Student Assessment. Consequently, Finnish students are required to take only one exam in their student career, at the age of 16.
By signing the petition below, you will show your support for China’s new education proposal. The reforms, if passed, will reduce repetitive busy work and increase more hands-on learning and experience, which in turn stimulates an actual interest in subjects, rather than anxiety involved in remembering factoids and passing an exam.
Dear Ministry of Education,
I am writing to you today to show my support for your recently proposed educational reform plans. More hands-on experience allows students to gain more interest in their areas of study, while excessive busy work only emphasizes memorization. If the proposal is accepted, you will be shifting the focus onto more real-world experience, and away from much known anxiety-causing exams.
By drafting this proposal, you are illustrating that education is still a primary focus, and improvements can always be made. Far too many countries have been pushing education to the side, cutting budget costs and ignoring problems within the system. I commend your efforts and hope to see more countries replicate similar transitions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: USC Upstate via Flickr