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    In Chengdu, a Two-Week Buffer to Ease Students Back to School

    The new policy also grants students a two-week extension to submit homework, ensuring they can return to school without penalties.
    Feb 21, 2024#education#policy

    With thousands of students preparing to return to school next Monday after a month-long break, Chengdu, the provincial capital of southwest China’s Sichuan, has announced a two-week buffer period to ease the transition back into academic life.

    According to the Chengdu education bureau, the first week is designed to help students ease back into school life. In addition, students will be allowed to delay submitting their holiday homework for the first two weeks. During this period, teachers cannot deny students attendance for not completing their homework, as has previously been the case in some schools.

    Additionally, the authority recommends postponing school registration times on the first day to 9:30 a.m. During these initial two weeks, schools are advised against scheduling tests, with the exception of final-year high school students preparing for the gaokao, China’s college entrance examination.

    Within two weeks after the start of the school year, schools are also required to organize a mental and physical health assessment for all students, focusing on understanding parent-child relationships, physical and mental conditions, and psychological dynamics of students during the winter vacation.

    As the new academic year looms, social media has been abuzz with posts and videos of students racing to meet their homework deadlines, drawing millions of views. While some parents have argued on social media that a buffer period undermines the development of crucial time management skills, others lauded the policy shift.

    Speaking to local media, Zhen Jianan, a teacher in Chengdu, underscored that only a small fraction of students fail to complete their assignments. “Delaying homework doesn’t mean not submitting it at all. We still expect the work to be completed,” she said. Zhen added that with the buffer period, students also start to understand the importance of better time management.

    Despite the education bureau’s announcement of a new buffer period policy, some students in Chengdu have reported a lack of communication regarding extended deadlines.

    Sixth Tone found that in one private school’s recent announcement for the new semester, registration times continue to vary by grade, with the earliest being 8 a.m. for first-year junior high students, unchanged from the previous year. The school’s guidelines advise students to “manage their remaining homework time carefully and adhere strictly to guidelines.”

    According to Wang Yudi, a student in grade seven, her school is yet to disclose registration times, while homework checks are already underway. Similarly, Carol Chen, a sophomore in Chengdu, said: “Because the school assumes that students have dedicated their winter vacation to studying, they also assume everyone will be ready to resume academic activities immediately.”

    The policy introduced in Chengdu is part of a growing trend across the country. In 2021, Xiaoshan District in the eastern city of Hangzhou announced that primary and secondary students were not strictly required to complete winter vacation homework.

    Similarly, last year, Hefei, provincial capital of the central Anhui, mandated that schools adopt a homework buffer period, permitting students to hand in their assignments within the first two weeks of the new semester.

    Additional reporting: Lü Xiaoxi; editor: Apurva.

    (Header image: VCG)