Students Wear Social Distancing Headgears To Class As Schools Resume In China
Life in China is now returning to normalcy since the outbreak of Coronavirus.
With some schools slowly reopening after the long hiatus, one school in the city of Hangzhou have enforced social distancing by letting students wear DIY hats with 3-foot-long horizontal plumes.
Duke University professor, Eileen Chengyin Chow shared photos showing first graders at the Yangzheng Elementary School sitting in a classroom with desks arranged in single rows.
In the pictures, the students were also pictured wearing face masks and colourful headgear with extended plumes made out of cardboard and, in one case, balloons.
According to Chinese outlet, The Paper, students at the school are allowed to wear the headgear to remind them to keep their distance from each other.
This comes a day after the Hubei province health commission announced that Wuhan, the city at the center of Chinas coronavirus outbreak, has no more hospitalized patients after the last 12 were discharged on Sunday.
Shanghai To Gradually Reopen Schools In June As Lockdown Eases
Shanghai Schoolchildren in Shanghai will gradually resume some in-person classes in June with daily Covid-19 tests, the local government said Thursday, as the Chinese metropolis gradually emerges from a lengthy lockdown that brought it to a standstill.
The country has been fighting its worst coronavirus outbreak since the start of the pandemic, with the epicentre Shanghai banning its 25 million residents from leaving their homes for weeks.
Some of the city’s restrictions have recently eased as cases dwindle, though much of the population is still not allowed to venture outside for more than a few hours a day at most.
Children attending the last two years of high school — who must prepare for the all-important college entrance examinations — will return to schools across the city on June 6, Shanghai education official Yang Zhenfeng said at a press conference on Thursday.
They will be joined a week later by students in the final grade of middle school, while all other students are to remain at home attending online classes, Yang said.
“We will ensure that students get swabbed on campus after school every day,” with results from their PCR tests available by the next morning, Yang said.
Shanghai’s lockdown has taken a heavy toll on business and morale in the economic and cultural hub, pushing city authorities to allow some factories and public transport lines to resume operation in a patchy reopening.
When Can International Students Return To China
International students have been locked out of China since March 2020 due to COVID-19-related border closures. Many feel their studies are disrupted, fear they will not be able to graduate and are struggling from a lack of support and information by Chinese universities and authorities over their return. Frustrations have reached a crescendo, prompting students to start several online campaigns for their swift return to China.
While the number of COVID-19 cases has been subsiding in China, theres no news over when international students are expected to return at the time of writing. Countries such as Australia and Canada have slowly begun allowing international students to return, prompting students here to call for the same. Heres what we know so far about the situation:
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The Governments Role: Decisive Sweeping Policy Changes
Few countries have central governments that literally call the shots for the private sector. China does. Since January, officials made many big decisions about when schools and education companies would open or close, and what resources were available to support learning.
Chinas Ministry of Education issued school closure policies for the entire country between January 20 and February 8, affecting Chinas 278 million students across primary and postsecondary grades. Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, was locked down on January 23. Tutoring centers and daycares closed. The central government suggested K-12 and higher-ed delay starting the new semester and postpone any regional and national exams.
But along with shutting down bricks and mortar schools, China also beefed up two existing virtual ones. One platform, Empower Learning, was built by the government, in collaboration with Chinas seven largest edtech companies, offering digital K-12 curriculum. The platform provides live streaming courses that students can tap into from their phone or computer at home. The MOE also created its own site: Educloud. This site features videos, teaching plans and communities of the best teachers lessons recorded over the past eight years.
Chinas Shanghai Aims To End Covid Lockdown By June 1
Deputy mayor says Shanghai will reopen in stages and aim to resume normal life by June 1.
The Chinese city of Shanghai has announced plans to reopen gradually after spending more than six weeks in lockdown and stamping out COVID-19 transmission in 15 of its 16 districts.
The opening will be rolled out in phases, state media reported on Monday, with city authorities saying normal life will resume on June 1.
Shanghais first priority will be resuming industrial production and manufacturing and then commercial business, Deputy Mayor Zong Ming was quoted as saying.
Grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores will be allowed to open this week, as will in-person teaching at some schools, although anti-epidemic measures will remain in place to prevent a relapse.
Private cars and taxis will also be allowed on the streets from Monday onwards, and some public transit will resume on May 22.
From June 1 to mid- and late June, as long as risks of a rebound in infections are controlled, we will fully implement epidemic prevention and control, normalise management, and fully restore normal production and life in the city, Zong said.
But the announcement was met with scepticism by some Shanghai residents, who have been disappointed time and again by shifting schedules for the lifting of restrictions.
Shanghai, Shanghai am I still supposed to believe you? one member of the public said on the Weibo social media platform.
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Fees For Online Programmes
Tuition fees are expected to remain the same despite universities moving teaching online for current international students. Some universities have given discounts to international students, such as the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, which temporarily lowered its tuition fees for academic programmes in the fall 2020 semester by 20%.
How China Brought Nearly 200 Million Students Back To School
China says the reopening of classrooms proves that its top-down system is superior. To overwhelmed teachers and students stuck on campuses, its restrictions can feel like overkill.
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Under bright blue skies, nearly 2,000 students gathered this month for the start of school at Hanyang No. 1 High School in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged.
Medical staff stood guard at school entrances, taking temperatures. Administrative officials reviewed the students travel histories and coronavirus test results. Local Communist Party cadres kept watch, making sure teachers followed detailed instructions on hygiene and showed an anti-epidemic spirit.
Im not worried, a music teacher at the school, Yang Meng, said in an interview. Wuhan is now the safest place.
As countries around the world struggle to safely reopen schools this fall, China is harnessing the power of its authoritarian system to offer in-person learning for about 195 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade at public schools.
Chinas leader, Xi Jinping, said in a speech on Tuesday that the countrys progress in fighting the virus, including the opening of schools, had fully demonstrated the clear superiority of Communist Party leadership and our socialist system.
Albee Zhang, Liu Yi and Coral Yang contributed research.
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Learning Chinese As A Foreigner
If you plan to live, work, or study in China, learning at least a few words of one of the Chinese dialects is essential. As the vast majority of Chinaâs population speaks Modern Standard Mandarin , it makes sense to focus on this dialect. It will increase your chances of understanding the locals in most parts of the country.
If you wish to study one of the Chinese languages, you can do so by attending one of the many Chinese language courses at a local university. The language school fees for a year-long course is around 10,000 CNY depending on the university you choose. Some of them offer shorter, more intensive courses as well.
Another option is attending a specialized Chinese language school. There you will be able to choose the intensity of your course and the number of weeks youâd like to attend the classes. The prices depend on the aforementioned criteria and can range from around 500 to 2,500 CHY or more per week.
If you choose to hire a private language teacher, make sure they actually speak Putonghua and donât have a strong accent. Especially if you are living in Chinaâs south where Mandarin is only the second language, you will meet many locals who know the dialect that is considered standard Chinese but donât speak it very well. Private teachers can cost you from 150 to 450 CNY per lesson.
What Is Kindergarten Preschool Or Daycare Like In China
The educational approach in Chinese kindergartens might be very different as well. Teachers are a lot more strict, and discipline is highly valued . Parents from Western countries may be shocked by this or even perceive these methods as cruel. Also note, that kindergarten is the time when ideological education is introduced to the curricula.
It makes sense to communicate with the school beforehand, learn all about their teaching methods and let them know what is acceptable to you and what is not. If you are worried that your child might not adjust well to the new situation, finding a kindergarten that does not follow a typical Chinese teaching style might be the best option.
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A Few Schools Resume In Qinghai Province
Some schools have been deemed safe to resume classwork on Monday in Qinghai province, given the progress against the novel coronavirus.
According to a statement released on the province’s website, senior high schools and secondary vocational schools will resume between Monday and Friday, and junior middle schools will resume between March 16 and 20.
According to the statement, the province’s colleges and universities, including high vocational schools, switched to e-learning classes on March 1 in accordance with directives from the Ministry of Education. Exactly when the province’s primary schools, special education schools and kindergartens will resume is unknown.
Ma Kyimotso, 20, in Huzhu Tu autonomous county of Haidong city, was excited about the resumption of classes at her school on Monday, despite an adventurous ride through the mountains during a heavy snowfall.
Like most of other senior high schools in the city, Huzhu No 3 Middle School announced that the semester would begin on Monday.
“I have to take the college entrance exam in 90 days, and both my family and I have been expecting school to resume,” Ma Kyimotso said, adding that e-learning at home was not as good as studying in the classroom.
She said only 16 third grade classes at her school had resumed on Monday the other two grades will start in coming days.
Information About The School Calendar: The Dates When The Schools In Beijing Close For Vacation
Chinese schools generally operate on a two-semester system:
- Semester 1: starts on 1 September
- Semester 2: starts on 1 March
There are two main holidays in the school year: the summer vacation and the winter vacation. The winter vacation cuts the school year in half and lasts for approximately one month, and it includes the Spring Festival which last for 15 days. The summer vacation starts at around the beginning of July and lasts approximately two months.
Note: School holidays are often integrated with weekends and the actual dates may change in the process. This way, one-day holidays become three , and the three-day National Day holiday, adjoined with two weekends, becomes seven.
- See our page on Chinese National Holidays for more information
Every year students are given a school calendar in which the start and end days of each holiday are noted.
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Primary Schools In China
At the age of seven or six, children begin primary school education. All in all, 60% of the allocated time of instruction is dedicated to Chinese and math, also called âThe Big Twoâ. Additionally, children are instructed in music, art, morals and society, and nature, and also take practical work classes.
Some schools also start to teach foreign languages towards the end of primary school and add extra-curricular activities to the mix. In fact, the competitiveness of the educational system in China starts very early on so parents often sign their kids up to a variety of extra-curricular activities in order for them to have better prospects in the future.
Usually, the school year starts in September and last about 9 months. Summer vacation is in July and August while the winter holiday is around January or February. The school days usually last a whole day with 45-minutes-long classes, with a little more flexible schedules in more rural areas. In Chinaâs metropolises, where lunch breaks are shorter, kids might finish school around 15:00 as well.
Primary education lasts five years in most of the country, except for the major cities like Beijing or Shanghai, where a six-year-long primary school system is more common. There, children start school at the age of six, while in the rest of the country they donât attend schools until theyâre seven.
After completing primary education, the students have to take mandatory exams that test their knowledge of Chinese and math.
Cantonese: The Language Of Chinas South
If Mandarin is the most commonly known Chinese language, then Cantonese comes second, with around 60 million speakers in the country. Cantonese is the dialect of Yue and is mostly spoken in Chinaâs Guangdong Province, as well as Hong Kong and Macau. Moreover, Cantonese is common in a lot of Chinese communities in Southeast Asia and Western countries. In fact, it is a language you will hear in many Chinatowns around the world.
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Prepare For Waiting Lists
Even though the tuition fees for international schools in China is high and makes up a big part of your cost of living, both international and Chinese students are flocking to these schools.
And even though the number of international schools in mainland China is on the rise, the demand is so high that the spots fill up quickly and many schools have their own set of requirements as well as long waiting lists. Hence, try to apply for a spot as early as possible and provide your childâs transcripts, health records, and, if necessary, recommendations. Keep in mind that an entrance exam and a personal interview might be part of the admission process.
Top International Schools in Chinaâs Biggest Cities
Admissions At Chinese Universities
According to China Admissions, an official representative of many top Chinese universities, Admissions are going ahead as normal for 2021 intake, but added, The situation for 2021 intake depends on the COVID-19 situation, the policy of China and the university policy. Most students in China have resumed offline learning but those stuck outside the country are expected to resume online learning until further changes.
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Shanghai Celebrates New Start After Covid Restrictions Eased
People venture out after two months stuck at home, but virus-related controls including regular tests will continue.
Some Shanghai residents welcomed the end of a tough two-month lockdown at midnight by heading out onto the streets as authorities began to ease the toughest COVID-19 related restrictions in Chinas largest city.
Small groups gathered in the citys former French Concession neighbourhood whistled, shouted ban lifted, and clinked glasses of champagne as the draconian rules came to an end.
Earlier, streets were lively as residents picnicked on grassy patches and children rode bikes down car-less roads. Dancing retirees, a common evening sight in Chinese cities, came out onto open-air plazas and along the Huangpu River for the first time in weeks under the watchful eye of police, deployed to discourage large crowds from forming.
Yin Xin, a spokesperson for the municipal government, said the city was embracing a new start, according to the state-run Global Times, and that its daily briefing on the coronavirus would no longer take place.
The ruthlessly-enforced lockdown fuelled anger and upset in the city of 25 million people and left many struggling to get food or find emergency healthcare. It also hampered manufacturing and other industries, disrupting supply chains at home and around the world.
It was a very difficult time, Dan Wang, the chief economist at Hang Seng Bank in the city, told Al Jazeera. She said she spent 70 days in lockdown.
Stop Teaching New Content
Not all students either canor willshow up for online classes. And especially in remote China, where access to bandwidth and even to computing devices is uneven. Worried about students who are unable to access digital content, the MOE announced on Feb. 4 that educators were prohibited from introducing new curriculum until the new semester started.
The Ministry did encourage educators to use online content concerning personal well-being, such as mental health and entertainment resources. Xiaohong Yang, an elementary school administrator at Beijing, shared that only online mental health courses were mandatory for elementary school students in Chaoyang district in Beijing. In addition, in-home physical education courses were strongly promoted by schools and teachers. Students and parents had leeway to take classes in other subjects from their school or edtech providers.
Changes have been coming swiftly: On March 31, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education , announced that elementary and middle schools would start a new curriculum online on April 13. Most provinces are likely to reopen schools on April 27 for students in grades 9 and 12 who are taking entrance exams. And the MOE announced that college campuses will reopen in September.
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