Rule change

Law bans pri­vate schools from prof­it­ing off of ed­u­ca­tion

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO XINYING and CAO YIN Con­tact the writ­ers at zhaoxiny­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Par­ents and aca­demic ad­min­is­tra­tors are tak­ing a wait-and-see at­ti­tude re­gard­ing new rules that bar elite pri­vate schools from prof­it­ing from tu­ition paid for Chi­nese chil­dren in grades one to nine.

The re­vised law on pri­vate ed­u­ca­tion was passed on Mon­day af­ter a 124-24 vote at a ses­sion of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, which is the na­tion’s top leg­is­la­ture. It states that schools will not be al­lowed to gen­er­ate prof­its from the na­tion’s nine years of com­pul­sory ed­u­ca­tion for lo­cal stu­dents.

Some have warned the rule change could deal a blow to pri­vate schools that of­fer in­ter­na­tional cour­ses and re­cruit stu­dents from wealthy Chi­nese fam­i­lies.

Of­fi­cials said the re­vised law aims to en­sure equal­ity among chil­dren in the com­pul­sory ed­u­ca­tion phase.

For-profit pri­vate schools in Bei­jing and Shang­hai did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment on Mon­day. How­ever, Ada Jen, an ad­min­is­tra­tor at the non­profit In­ter­na­tional School of Bei­jing, who is close to peo­ple work­ing at for-profit schools, said such in­sti­tu­tions are mostly op­er­ated with do­mes­tic cap­i­tal and are un­likely to com­pletely with­draw from the Chi­nese mar­ket.

“What we could see is them with­draw­ing from pri­mary and ju­nior mid­dle school ed­u­ca­tion and fo­cus­ing more on kinder­gartens and high schools,” she said. “Oth­er­wise, they have to at­tempt to trans­form them­selves into non­profit in­sti­tu­tions.”

Her school, which re­cruits only for­eign stu­dents, will not be af­fected by the re­vised law.

Jen said elite, for-profit schools have not taken any im­me­di­ate ac­tion in re­sponse to the lawas far as she knows. She said it’s still hard to say what will hap­pen. “More ef­fects will be un­der­stood only af­ter more de­tails of the laware re­leased.”

WangQiang, whose daugh­ter is a third-grader at a pri­vate school in Bei­jing’s Haid­ian dis­trict cost­ing many thou­sands of yuan a year, said he had not re­ceived any in­for­ma­tion on his daugh­ter’s school.

He said if the school stops pro­vid­ing com­pul­sory ed­u­ca­tion, he and his wife can try pub­lic schools be­cause both hold Bei­jing hukou, or per­ma­nent res­i­dency, which is re­quired for chil­dren to at­tend pub­lic schools in the cap­i­tal.

“But I re­ally don’t want to see that hap­pen,” Wang said. “For cities with large pop­u­la­tions and com­par­a­tively in­suf­fi­cient pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion re­sources like Bei­jing, pri­vate schools are not a sup­ple­ment but a must.”

He Chugang, gen­eral man­ager of the South China re­gion at Am­ber Ed­u­ca­tion, an over­seas study con­sul­tancy, said par­ents of stu­dents at elite schools may send their chil­dren abroad as an al­ter­na­tive, if such schools halt their op­er­a­tions and lo­cal pub­lic schools don’t have the ca­pac­ity to ab­sorb them.

“Many par­ents chose such schools as a prepa­ra­tion or a tran­si­tion for their chil­dren to study abroad,” he said. “The changes in pri­vate ed­u­ca­tion might push them to make that de­ci­sion ahead of sched­ule.”

XU KANGPINGXUKANGPING//FORFORCHINACHINADAILYDAILY

A A teacherteacher talks talks with with chil­dren chil­dren at at a a pri­vate pri­vate school school in in Hangzhou, Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang Zhe­jiang prov­ince, prov­ince, in in April. April. New New rules rules ban ban prof­its prof­its on on tu­ition tu­ition for for com­pul­sory com­pul­sory ed­u­ca­tion ed­u­ca­tion for for Chi­nese Chi­nese stu­dents. stu­dents.

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