The unbearable pressure of homework in China

Updated 2017-12-22 09:30:20 CGTN

Homework has recently become a sensational topic on Chinese social media, due to several parents sharing their experiences helping their children complete their homework.

An article titled "What have I done wrong to get the punishment of helping my kid do their homework" went viral on WeChat Moments. In the article, the mom complained that whenever she has to tutor her son with his homework, she will easily lose her temper and yell at him.

She was echoed by many parents who faced the same problem, with some even saying that they even ended up in hospital with heart attacks because they lost patience and got outraged.

According to a report recently released by the artificial intelligence (AI) education platform Afanti, homework has seriously affected the concept of parenthood in Chinese families.

Afanti claimed that the report was based on nearly 100 million registered users and an offline survey collected in their stores which say that at least 76 percent of Chinese families have conflicts triggered by issues relating to parents tutoring their children through homework.

The report said that, over the past three years, Chinese primary and middle school students have had to spend at least 2.82 hours per day on homework, which is nearly three times of the world average.

This figure is 3.7 times what Japanese students spend on their homework, and 4.8 times what South Korean students spend.

At least 91.2 percent of Chinese parents have had to tutor, or at least help, their children with their homework, while 78 percent have made it part of their daily routine.

The massive amount of complaints have aroused the attention of society at large, as well as the government. Several local governments issued new rules, banning schools from assigning homework that involves parents, and some educational departments asked that homework for primary and middle school students be limited to only one hour per night.

Ding Limin, principal of the Affiliated Primary School of Shanghai Tech University was cited by the Daily Telegraph as saying that parents should help their children cultivate good learning habits, but they should not check every bit of their homework. "That is the teachers' job," said Ding.

The market responded even faster, and several apps have been launched to help parents check their children's homework, simply by uploading a photo of the piece, and waiting for feedback.

On the other hand, many parents have also started to reflect on the "excessive attention" they have given to their children's homework. "Maybe it is time to trust them and allow them to finish their homework independently," said a parent in a WeChat article - only many still find it hard to tolerate their children's repeated mistakes.

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