Students from Taizhou Middle School, Jiangsu province, experience farming during their labor course. IC
Household chores like cooking and sewing always end up at the bottom of many of our to-do lists. Some people even think that they should be taken care of by our parents.
However, these life skills are important and should be taught as part of labor education. On June 3, the Ministry of Education (MOE) issued a document illustrating the revised curriculum for senior high schools across the country. According to the document, labor education is enlisted as a compulsory course for senior high school students at all levels.
Labor education, also called education on the hardworking spirit, ranges from household chores to on-campus labor and community volunteer services.
“Labor education must be strengthened with the aim to cultivate the right view of the world, life and values and develop an interest in doing labor,” said Vice-Minister of Education Zheng Fuzhi. Through such education, students are “expected to acquire basic working capabilities for livelihood and individual development, as well as form good working habits”, said a guideline released by the MOE.
According to China Youth Daily, the labor course will take six credits – the same as foreign language and physics. Voluntary service, as a part of labor education, would take two credits. The MOE also asks schools to ensure 40 hours of voluntary service during the full three school years.
据《中国青年报》报道，劳动课程共6学分 —— 与外语、物理课程的学分相同。其中，志愿服务为2学分。教育部还要求学校确保三学年内不少于40小时的志愿服务。
According to Xinhua, adding labor education was out of concern that the country’s youngsters do too little housework and belittle manual labor jobs. Due to a lot of academic pressure, schools tend to focus on the academic curriculum, and parents sometimes see household chores as distractions.
According to People’s Daily, a study from Beijing Academy of Educational Sciences showed that elementary and middle school students in China only spend 12 minutes a day on average on chores, compared to 72 minutes in the US, 42 minutes in South Korea and 30 minutes in France.
However, household chores for teenagers are by no means a distraction. Instead, they are essential for developing a strong work ethic (职业道德), according to Julie Lythcott-Haims, the author of How to Raise an Adult. “The earlier you started, the better ... A roll-up-your-sleeves-and-pitch-in mindset (挽起袖子开干的心态) can get you ahead in the workplace,” Lythcott-Haims said. According to Northwest Educational Service, chores can also teach teamwork, problem-solving skills and give people a sense of pride in a job well done.