To implement the State Council's Opinions on Strengthening Labor Education for Primary, Secondary and Higher Education in the New Era, and to facilitate the establishment of a more well-rounded education system, the MOE issued a set of Guidelines on Labor Education for Primary, Secondary and Higher Education, which outlines the aim, components and pedagogical approaches of labor education, and lays out specific requirements for schools, teachers and local education authorities.
The Guidelines state that the aim of labor education is to nurture an enthusiasm for physical labor and foster a spirit of frugality, hard-work, innovation and dedication. Students are encouraged to participate in physical work and give full play to their initiative and creativity.
The Guidelines also specify that labor education should include three components: a) labor in daily life, which aims to cultivate self-reliance and good living and hygiene habits; b) production activities, ranging from traditional physical activities such as farming and handicraft to industrial manufacturing that applies the latest techniques, and can enhance the awareness of product quality; and c) community service, which allows students to use their knowledge and skills to serve other people and society, thus strengthening their social responsibility.
The Guidelines stress that, in addition to classroom activities, labor education must be incorporated into extracurricular activities as well, and sets minimum times for primary and secondary students: the first- and second-graders need to engage in physical labor at least two hours a week, while students in other grades no less than three hours a week. Vocational colleges and higher education institutions are required to clarify the content and time of physical labor in their student management protocols.
In addition, the Guidelines require teachers to use a diversity of teaching methods such as instruction, demonstration, encouraging self-reflection and communication, and setting the example, in order to maximize the effects of labor education, and apply multiple evaluation and monitoring methods to facilitate student self-improvement. Local education authorities also need to increase investment to increase the teacher workforce and infrastructure, needed by rolling out labor education projects in schools, and enhance research and guidance on high-quality labor education.