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CHINA published guidelines introducing education in Xi Jinping Thought at all schooling stages on Tuesday in further reforms to the education system.
The summer has seen a major reorganisation of schools, with many private schools being taken into public ownership and restrictions placed on for-profit education and private tuition.
President Xi Jinping said the move was partly to address a “hyper-competitive” culture in which parents pay for extra tuition to give children an edge in examinations, university placements and the job market, saying: “Parents hope their children will have a happy childhood … but are afraid they will lose at the starting line in a competition over scores.”
The Communist Party also said it would address inequality in education outcomes, though foreign critics have depicted it as a bid to ensure state control over content.
The new guidelines are stated to aim at providing all Chinese pupils with a grounding in Marxism and develop “confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
They will build on a decree last year which introduced more “labour education” into the schooling system, with pupils and students being required to undertake tasks from domestic chores to on-campus labour and provision of community services.
Compared to the “down to the countryside” movement under Chairman Mao — during which Mr Xi was one of hundreds of thousands of urban children sent to work as a peasant in rural China to “learn from the masses” — by critics, Chinese authorities say these tasks build community spirit and encourage students not to look down on manual labour.
Xi Jinping Thought was formally adopted as among the Communist Party’s guiding philosophies in 2017.
The attribution of theoretical advances to each Chinese leader since Mao has been traditional, from Deng Xiaoping Theory to Jiang Zemin’s doctrine of the Three Represents, but Mr Xi’s is the first to be given equivalent status to Mao Zedong Thought, using the same term (sixiang).
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