China has banned written exams for six and seven-year-olds in attempts to relieve pressure on pupils and parents.
This move is part of sweeping education reforms aimed at China’s hyper-competitive school system.
The Ministry of Education issued new guidelines on Monday and said that frequent exams “cause students to be overburdened”.
They added that the pressure on pupils from a young age “harms their mental and physical health.”
The new guidelines also limit exams in other years of compulsory education to once a term. Mid-term and mock examinations are still allowed in junior high school.
The exam-oriented system in place in China previously required students to take exams from first grade onwards.
China has also cracked down on private tutoring. In late July, it ordered all private tutoring firms to convert to non-profits and disallowed them from giving lessons in core subjects on the weekends and on holidays.
The reforms aim to reduce educational inequality in China, where some parents pay high amounts on private tutoring to better their children’s educational fortunes.
Private tutoring centres also snag property in schools’ catchment areas, driving house prices up.
Last week, authorities announced that teachers must rotate schools every six years to prevent a concentration of the top teachers at specific schools. A ban on setting up special classes for gifted students was also reiterated.
The ministry also banned written homework for first and second graders and limited homework for junior high students.