Education officials in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang have released a set of draft regulations that would limit the use of electronic devices for schoolwork, citing a need to prevent myopia.
The new rules prohibit assigning homework via apps, stating that take-home assignments should be on paper. In addition, instruction that uses electronic devices must not make up more than 30% of teaching time.
The regulations fall in line with guidelines released by China’s Ministry of Education last August, according to Beijing News (in Chinese). To prevent nearsightedness among minors, it mandated that teaching and homework should not rely on electronics. The same month, China’s media regulator the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television released similar regulations targeting myopia. Those rules, which were aimed at online games, affected tech giant Tencent and smaller industry players.
Besides cutting down on electronics, the regulations also include restrictions on homework times for students from primary school and middle school. No written homework is allowed for first and second-grade students, while older students are limited to 60 or 90 minutes of take-home work. In addition, the regulations set limits for the number of exams per semester, as well as publishing exam results and rankings.
Zhejiang’s education department is moving to strengthen implementation of physical education classes and extracurricular sports activities, as well as set aside time for “eye health exercises.” It’s also planning to incorporate myopia-prevention work, myopia rates, and students’ overall physical health into government performance assessments of schools.
Zhejiang province isn’t the first to consider such rules. Earlier this month, China’s eastern Fujian province also moved to control the use of software, including apps, to assign homework to students, according to Beijing News. If electronics are required to complete homework, the rules state, the time must not exceed 20 minutes and such assignments should be reported to the school.