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China bans exams for youngest schoolkids

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Young students read the Constitution of the People's Republic of China in Yunyang county in December 2014. AFP

China bans exams for youngest schoolkids

Beijing on August 30 banned written exams for six- and seven-year-olds, as part of sweeping education reforms aimed at relieving pressure on pupils and parents in China’s hyper-competitive school system.

China’s exam-oriented system previously required students to take exams from first grade onwards, culminating in the feared university entrance exam at age 18 known as the “gaokao”, where a single score can determine a child’s life trajectory.

“Too frequent exams … which cause students to be overburdened and under huge exam pressure,” have been axed by the Ministry of Education, according to new guidelines released on August 30.

The ministry said the pressure on pupils from a young age “harms their mental and physical health”.

The regulations also limit exams in other years of compulsory education to once a term, with mid-term and mock examinations allowed in junior high school.

The measures are part of wider government reforms of China’s education sector.

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