The Chinese government is taking steps to curb the rising number of myopia among children with a new program that aims to reduce the rate of myopia amongst six-year-olds to three per cent by 2030.
Announcement of the program follows President Xi Jinping’s recent remark that the future needs to protect the eye heath of children and ensure they have “a bright future”.
An estimated 36 per cent of fourth graders and 65 per cent of eighth graders in China are myopic, according to the Ministry of Education.
Under the scheme, the aim is to reduce the incidence of myopia among primary school kids to below 38 percent, and the rate among junior and senior high school students to fall below 60 percent and 70 percent respectively.
The programme puts forward staged goals of prevention and control of myopia for children and adolescents, clarifies the responsibilities of families, schools, medical and health institutions, etc, and establishes a national assessment system for prevention and control of myopia.
That was issued by the Ministry of Education, the National Health Commission and six other departments.
The scheme encourages children to spend more time outdoors and orders schools not to leave written assignments to first and second graders.
Limiting screen time for mobile devices, PCs, and consoles is also part of the approach.
According to the MOE report, 14.7 percent of fourth-grade students and 19.2 percent of eighth-grade students on average spend over an hour everyday doing maths homework, while 43.8 percent of the fourth graders and 23.4 percent of the eighth graders take extra math training outside classes.