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Students inNanjing city, in east China’s Jiangsu province, will soon experience a fashionable way of study. They can leave heavy school bags at home, and take iPads into the classroom instead, as necessities such as books and papers will be replaced by the high-tech gadget.

On March 24, teachers at Jinling High School told senior high students who plan to study in the United States that all newly admitted senior three students will be required to use iPads in class once the new term begins in September. The policy, which has been discussed extensively online since the announcement, will possibly be extended to all the school’s students.

Xin Qihua, vice director of the international department of Jinling High School, said using iPads can set students free from the burden of school bags and it can also improve interaction between them and teachers, who can raise questions through the devices and review all answers from the students immediately.

Xin added that iPads can also give students access to many new foreign educational resources, which will contribute to their preparation for the SAT, TOFEL and AP exams, and it can help them spend up to 90 percent less on teaching materials.

The measure was hailed by many young people. Micro-blogger “secret cannot be told” posted on popular micro-blogging site Sina Weibo, “I am so jealous. I have an iPad too, but I am not even allowed to take it to the classroom.”

However, many people expressed doubt in the efficacy of the reform and some worried that it may have side effects on the students.

“Buzhiyubu” wrote, “Although it is worth trying, children who lack self-discipline may waste time in playing games.”

Meng Qun, a teacher involved in the program, said, “The teacher has technical control over all the iPads, and students will be prevented from installing any games.”

In an attempt to lighten the load on students in China’s primary and high schools, several local governments have recently been trying to expand the use of “electronic school bags,” a term which refers to mobile devices such as tablets and laptops.

However, Yin Fei, professor with Nanjing Normal University, said, “It is a fallacy to reduce students’ burdens by introducing electronic devices.The excessive burden on students’ shoulders is not from the weight of school bags, but the flawed educational system itself.”

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