But many supported the proposal, which called for schools, after-school training institutions, parents and education authorities to help reduce the workload placed on children.
“Let children be children and be happy,” wrote one on Weibo.
“People all over China know that children have a heavy burden, and they don’t want their children to be so tired,” said another.
Shanghai-based Li Shan says her seven-year-old daughter is often still awake at 9pm doing homework.
“I see her getting tired, rubbing her eyes, and I feel really sorry for her,” she told AFP.
“I would rather my daughter spent her time playing with other children, doing sports, or sketching if she wants to. I don’t want her to be a machine just doing homework.”
A satirical article on social media platform WeChat went viral as the debate raged, with the writer accusing competitive parents of going overboard in pressuring their children to work hard and get top jobs.
“As the largest province in China’s college entrance examination, if you look at the earth from space, you can’t see the Pyramids and the Great Wall, but you can see the outline of the Jiangsu students’ desks,” it said.
A commentary in the state-run China Daily Thursday said that the real question was how to reform the college entrance exams so it is not the “be-all and end-all for children’s future.”
“Instead of addressing a symptom, comprehensive education reform is needed to treat the illness and ensure children have well-rounded childhoods, rather than just study,” it said.
by Helen Roxburgh and Qian Ye
Title Updated 11/04/19