New guidelines about how students should be disciplined in Chinese primary and secondary schools have been released by the government. Coming into effect on Monday, March 1, the rules lay out what actions by students should receive what level of punishment from teachers and how far parents should be involved. The move is aimed at easing tensions between teachers and parents about how to discipline children, which have been escalating in recent years, according to the Global Times.
The guidelines, which will be adopted by all primary and secondary schools nationwide, define which actions should be regarded as breaking school rules and requiring discipline. They include disobeying teachers’ orders, disrupting other students, bullying, smoking and drinking. The rules also call for the seriousness of offenses to be categorized into three levels, with subsequent punishments proportionate to the severity of the infringement.
The new rules state that teachers can enforce timeouts and demand written or oral apologies from students for moderate infringements of the school rules without informing parents. Parents should, however, be informed before a punishment is carried out if a student has committed a serious offense.
The move comes after online debates and recent conflicts between parents and teachers about how students should be disciplined. "With the implementation of this guideline, teachers can criticize improper behavior without worrying if the punishments are too light or too heavy, which would have brought objections from parents who thought them 'inappropriate,'" a middle school teacher, surnamed Hua, told the Global Times.
However, Xiong Bingqi, director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Beijing, said more was needed to stop parents interfering with school systems and to prevent teachers abusing their powers. "To some extent, the guideline can address this problem, but educational authorities must lay out more details in order for schools to implement it," said Xiong.
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Keywords: China new guidelines student discipline
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