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China launches 5-year campaign against youth myopia

Updated: May 11,2021 13:57    Xinhua

BEIJING — China has launched a five-year campaign to prevent and curb myopia among younger generations, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on May 11.

The government aims to continuously reduce the myopia rate of children and adolescents every year and effectively improve the visual health of young Chinese by 2025, according to a work plan jointly released by 15 national agencies including the MOE.

Under the plan, the agencies will initiate special operations, such as reducing students' academic burden, limiting their exposure to digital gadgets, ensuring one hour of outdoor activities or physical exercise every day both during and after school hours, and conducting optical examinations of all children and students to identify possible eyesight issues.

The MOE asked primary and junior high schools to refrain from relying on digital gadgets in teaching and assigning homework, ordering a 30 percent cap on the total teaching time using electronic devices and calling for roughly all homework to be paper-based.

About 50.2 percent of Chinese children and teenagers suffered from myopia in 2019, a drop of 3.4 percentage points from the figure in 2018, an MOE survey showed.

The myopia rate in 2020 increased slightly as around 200 million students had been studying at home for months amid the COVID-19 epidemic, but the ratio still marks a decrease from the 2018 figure, according to the MOE.

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