All primary and middle schools should offer after-school programs in the upcoming autumn semester to address the needs of working parents when picking up their children, the Ministry of Education said on Tuesday.
The programs should run every work day and last for at least two hours, Lyu Yugang, director of the ministry's department of basic education, told a news conference in Beijing, adding that they could last even longer for the children of parents with special difficulties.
The programs should help students finish homework, tutor students who have difficulty in learning and conduct various activities including sports, arts, reading, interest groups and clubs, Lyu said, adding that no new classes should be taught at the programs.
They should mainly be run by schoolteachers, but retired teachers and outside professionals could also participate. They should receive compensation for extra work, he said.
A total of 102,000 primary and middle schools across the country had launched such programs by the end of May, which were attended by almost 65 million students and 4.66 million teachers, Lyu added.
To address the difficulties faced by working parents in taking care of children during the summer vacation, the ministry is encouraging schools to provide day care services to students, he said.
Local education authorities should work with other government departments to explore various ways to provide day care services to primary and middle school students in need, he said.
It is not mandatory for students and teachers to participate in such services and teachers who take part in them should be compensated for extra work and be given priority in getting awards or promotions, he said.
The summer day care service should not become a third semester and no new classes should be given to students, he added.
Ding Dawei, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, said the city will start summer day care services for students in grades one to five on Monday and end them on Aug 20. They will be run in two sessions, each lasting 12 days, he said.
The city began offering after-school programs in 2018 and plans to extend the programs by half an hour to 6 pm and add tutoring services in the new semester, he added.
Chen Qiuming, director of Shenzhen's education bureau, said all public primary and middle schools in the city offer after-school programs, which are taken by 73 percent of primary school students and 83 percent of middle school students.