From the Chinese Press
Updated: 2013-11-07 07:25
More flexible holidays needed
The news that people would get nine days off for both the Spring Festival holiday and the National Day holiday happily surprised netizens. Although the news has turned out to be false, it reflects the public's hopes that the holiday arrangements should be adjusted, says an article in Qianjiang Evening News. Excerpts:
A recent survey on public holidays conducted by several web portals found that more than 80 percent of the interviewees were "unsatisfied" with the current arrangements. The respondents had three main complaints. Apart from too few holidays, the seven-day National Day was considered too short and too rigid, while working weekends to make up for the lost days broke up the normal working week and made the three-day legal holidays something not to be savored, but wasteful to discard.
The relevant departments should give more consideration to people's needs and moderately extend the duration of Spring Festival, the most important traditional holiday, which would not only help people cultivate filial piety and have a good rest at the end of year, but also to some extent reduce the difficulty of traveling during the holiday. Considering the mismatch between the Chinese traditional holidays and the calendar year, any arrangement for the holidays will not satisfy everyone. However, the holidays should cater to the basic demands of as many people as possible, and should guarantee quality leisure time and ease of transportation.
It is important to pay due attention to the message sent in the survey. A longer holiday should be considered to meet citizens' desires to travel. Also the three-day "minor holidays" should be adjusted to maintain the integrity of non-working weekends and people should be given the right to choose days they want off aside from the Spring Festival.
Don't punish too much
An investigation is now underway into the death of a 10-year-old student in Chengdu, Sichuan province, who was believed to have committed suicide because his teacher asked him to write a thousand word self-criticism. It is time to reflect on whether such punishments do more harm than good, says an article in Beijing Youth Daily. Excerpts:
Although opposed by many students and some educators who think self-criticism not only damages a student's dignity but also fails to help them realize their mistakes, schools in general have not abandoned such "punishments", because for them, compared with expelling students, writing self-criticism seems a better way for students to reflect on their mistakes.
However, when adopting such educational methods, schools should pay special attention to balancing education with protection. First of all, writing self-criticism should never damage students' self-esteem. Also, when schools ask students to write "profound and soul-searching" self-criticism thinking it will take effect only after undergoing such "torture", they should be aware that the opposite is true.
Moreover, even though some schools have canceled public self-criticism, few have asked students and their parents to be involved in the management of the school and supervision of the students. Also students should be educated about the rules they are supposed to follow to avoid disputes once they are punished for breaking them.
This primary school in Sichuan province has to learn lesson from the boy's suicide. For example, it should consider whether self-criticism should still be practiced in the school. If yes, it should listen to the advice of teachers and parents and adopt ways of criticism acceptable to all. Also, the school should raise awareness of the law among teachers and students since cultivating citizens' legal awareness is one of education's responsibilities.
(China Daily 11/07/2013 page9)