NON-STATE ACTORS IN EDUCATION

1. Terminology

2. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision 

2.2 Non-state education provision 

2.3 Other types of schools 

3. Governance and regulations

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

3.2 Multi-level regulations 

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring 

 

  1. Terminology

The Education Law of the People’s Republic of China (1995) which is applicable to all education levels states under Article 25, “The state shall encourage enterprises, institutions, mass associations, other social organizations and private citizens to establish schools and other educational institutions according to the law”.

The 2002 Law on the Promotion of Non-public Schools of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred as the NEPL) refers to non-state actors as “social organizations or individuals, other than the State organs” who “utilize non-governmental financial funds to establish and run schools and other institutions of education which are geared to the need of society” (Article 2). Non-public schools are called “minban” education (“civilian-run” education) in Chinese and are considered as “public welfare undertakings and constitutes a part of the cause of socialist education” (Article 3). According to the law “Non-public schools and government-run schools share equal legal status, and the State safeguards the autonomy of the Non-public schools in running their own business.”

In accordance with the NEPL, the Regulations on the Implementation of the Non-state Education Promotion Law of the People’s Republic of China (2004, amended 2021, hereinafter referred as the Regulation) classifies non-state actors as “social organizations or individuals other than State institutions” that can solely or jointly run private schools of various levels and types with “non-state financial funds ”, except for schools for “military, police, political and other special education”.

 

  1. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision

State schools

Education at primary (6 years beginning at age 6) and lower secondary level (3 years beginning at age 13) is primarily run and managed by the state in China. According to the Compulsory Education Law of the People’s Republic of China (amended in 2006), school-age children and adolescents must receive nine-year compulsory education (primary education and lower secondary education) and they are all exempted from tuition and miscellaneous fees. The funds shall be guaranteed by the State Council and the local people’s governments at various levels (Article 42).
In 2020, the majority of schools at primary (96%), lower secondary (89%) and upper secondary (86%) levels were public. Primary and lower secondary public schools are attended by 97% and 86% of students, respectively.

Non-state managed, state schools

Article 7 of the 2021 Amended Regulations of the Private Education Promotion Law of the People's Republic of China stipulates that: Public schools that implement compulsory education shall not establish or participate in the establishment of private schools, nor may they be converted into private schools. Other public schools shall not organize or participate in the establishment of for-profit private schools. However, public schools that implement vocational education can attract the capital, technology, management and other elements of enterprises, and organize or participate in the establishment of for-profit private schools that implement vocational education.  It also specifies that “Private schools organized by or participating in the organization of public schools shall have independent legal person qualifications, have campuses separated from public schools, basic education and teaching facilities, and independent full-time teachers, conduct independent accounting in accordance with the unified national accounting system , and independently enroll students. Independently issue academic certificates”. No additional information was found.

Non-state funded, state schools

Article 7 of the 2021 Amended Regulations of the Private Education Promotion Law of the People's Republic of China stipulates that “Public schools shall not use state financial funds to organize or participate in the establishment of private schools, shall not affect the teaching activities of public schools, and shall not participate in running schools only in the form of brand output, and shall be approved by their Competent authorities. Public schools running or participating in the running of non-profit private schools shall not obtain or disguise the income of running schools by means of management fees or other means.

In addition “Public schools that organize or participate in the establishment of private schools enjoy the rights of sponsors in accordance with the law, and perform state-owned asset management obligations in accordance with the law.”

2.2 Non-state education provision

Independent, non-state schools

The NEPL 2002 states that private schools are independent non-state schools that are managed by social organizations or individuals other than the State. According to the 2020 China Statistical Yearbook, in 2019 there were 6228 primary schools (4% of total schools) and 5793 lower secondary schools (11% of total schools) in China classified as non-state schools. They enrolled respectively 9,449,051 and 6,874,005 students in 2019. Private schools include international schools which are Chinese-owned and international schools for children of foreign nationals.

Private schools of different types/levels (pre-school, primary, secondary, higher education, vocational training) have various autonomy regarding curriculum development and carrying out activities in accordance with the school’s purpose and training objectives.

State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools

Regulations entered into force in September 2021 highlight that local people's governments shall not use state-owned enterprises and public educational resources to establish or participate in the establishment of private schools that implement compulsory education. Participating in the establishment of private schools with state-owned assets shall, in accordance with the relevant state-owned asset supervision and management regulations, hire an intermediary agency with evaluation qualifications to conduct evaluations in accordance with the law, determine the amount of capital contributions based on the evaluation results, and report to those who have the supervision and control responsibility for the state-owned assets Institutional filing.

Contracted, non-state schools

No information was found.

2.3 Other types of schools

Homeschooling

Homeschooling is deemed to be illegal. The Compulsory Education Law states that compulsory education refers to attending a school which is certified by the government. The Notice of Working on the Enrollment of Primary and Secondary Schools 2019 states that parents or other legal guardians who do not send school-age children and adolescents to school for compulsory education without justifiable reasons shall be investigated for legal responsibilities in accordance with the law. However, the law does not apply to non-citizen children who hold foreign passports. Several sources indicate that home-schooling exists in China, especially among foreign families.

In order to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education issued an emergency policy initiative named “suspending classes without stopping learning” in January 2020. In mainland China, where all face-to-face educational activities were postponed, students were allowed to have digital delivery to continue learning from home. To promote access to resources for primary and secondary school students in remote areas, the MoE launched a free online learning platform (the National Online Cloud Classroom) and arranged for China Education Television to broadcast relevant courses and resources through TV channels.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, all face-to-face educational activities were postponed, students were allowed to digital delivery to continue learning from home. The Ministry of Education issued an emergency policy initiative named “suspending classes without stopping learning” in January 2020. To promote resources for primary and secondary school students, the MOE launched a free online learning platform (the National Online Cloud Classroom) and arranged for China Education Television to broadcast relevant courses and resources through TV channels.

Market contracted (Voucher schools)

To ensure the implementation of compulsory education for children of migrant workers, school voucher programmes are proposed and children are allowed to study in schools in their destination cities. They mainly go to public schools while it is believed that this programme benefits the development of non-government education.

Unregistered/Unrecognised schools

No information was found.

 

  1. Governance and regulations

According to the NEPL 2002, non-state schools shall be supervised by the educational department and relevant departments (Article 41). The Ministry of Education is responsible for the overall planning, comprehensive coordination and macro-management of the work of private education throughout the country. The administrative department of human resources and social security of the State Council and other relevant departments are respectively responsible for related private education work within the scope of responsibilities stipulated by the State Council (Article 7). The education administrative departments of local governments at or above the county level shall be in charge of the work of non-state education in their respective administrative areas (Article 8). Art. 51 of the amended 2021 regulations set that “The State Council’s educational supervision agency and the people’s government of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government shall supervise and inspect the implementation of the statutory responsibilities of local people’s governments at or above the county level and their relevant departments in supporting and regulating the development of private education. The institutions responsible for education supervision of the people's government at or above the county level shall supervise private schools in accordance with the law and announce the results of the supervision, and establish a system of responsible supervision of private primary and secondary schools and kindergartens.”

Vision: The NEPL 2002 promulgates the policy of highly encouraging and supporting non-state education. Moreover, governments at all levels shall incorporate non-state education into the national economic and social development plan (Article 3). The Regulation 2021 states that Social organizations or individuals that have outstanding performance in running private schools or have made outstanding contributions to the development of private education will be rewarded and commended in accordance with relevant state regulations.

 

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education
 

The Kindergarten Working Rules 2016 states that early childhood care and education (ECCE) usually lasts three years and covers children of 3 to 6 years old. It is not part of compulsory education in mainland China. In 2020, more than half of ECCE (61.61%) is provided by non-public pre-school education institutions. Meanwhile, most of ECCE (84.74%) is classified as “General Beneficial Kindergarten”, which refers to kindergartens that receive financial support from the government and charges childcare and accommodation fees at government-guided prices.

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: See Multi-level regulations.

Licence: See Multi-level regulations.

Financial operation

Profit-making: See Multi-level regulations.

Taxes and subsidies: See Multi-level regulations.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: According to the new regulations 2021, private schools that implement pre-school education should follow the laws of children's physical and mental development in carrying out childcare and education activities, and set up and develop courses with games and activities as the main form. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.

Teaching profession: According to the new regulations 2021, private schools that implement pre-school education and academic education shall draw a certain proportion of their tuition income to establish special funds or funds, which shall be managed by the school and used for vocational incentives for faculty and staff or to increase treatment guarantees. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: See Multi-level regulations.

Admission selection and processes: Private schools that implement pre-school education and academic education enjoy the same enrollment rights as public schools of the same level and similar levels. They can independently determine the enrollment standards and methods within the school scale approved by the examination and approval authority, and enroll students at the same time as public schools. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.

Policies for vulnerable groups: See Multi-level regulations.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Reporting requirements: See Multi-level regulations.

Inspection: See Multi-level regulations.

Child assessment: See Multi-level regulations.

Sanctions: See Multi-level regulations.

 

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: According to the regulations amended in 2021, the establishment of a private school that implements compulsory education shall conform to the local development plan for compulsory education. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.

Licence: See Multi-level regulations.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): According to the Notice of the General Office of the Ministry of Education on Strengthening the Hygiene and Epidemic Prevention and Food Hygiene Safety of Private Schools, in 2006, all private schools are required to meet health and safety requirements as listed in School Health Work Regulations, the 2003 Notice of the General Office of the State Council on Forwarding Opinions of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health on Strengthening Hygiene and Epidemic Prevention and Food Hygiene and Safety in Schools, and the 2002 Regulations on the Hygiene Management of School Canteens and Group Meals.

Financial operation

Profit-making: Regulations in 2016 banned China has banned private schools from making money from the 1st to the 9th grade in compulsory education. At other levels of education for profit is allowed. Moreover, Article 13 of the Regulations on the Implementation of the Private Education Promotion Law states that “no social organization or individual may control private schools that implement compulsory education or non-profit private schools that implement preschool education through mergers and acquisitions, agreement control, etc." For more information, see Multi-level regulations.

Taxes and subsidies: According to article 8 of the amended regulations entered into force in September 2021, local people's governments shall not use state-owned enterprises and public educational resources to establish or participate in the establishment of private schools that implement compulsory education. Participating in the establishment of private schools with state-owned assets shall, in accordance with the relevant state-owned asset supervision and management regulations, hire an intermediary agency with evaluation qualifications to conduct evaluations in accordance with the law, determine the amount of capital contributions based on the evaluation results, and report to those who have the supervision and control responsibility for the state-owned assets Institutional filing. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: See Multi-level regulations.

Textbooks and learning materials: The use of teaching materials should align with the National Construction Planning for Teaching Materials for Universities, Secondary Schools and Primary Schools (2019-2023). According to the Regulation 2021, for private schools that implement compulsory education, foreign teaching materials shall not be adopted. (Article 29).

Teaching profession: See Multi-level regulations.

Corporal punishment:

There is an explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in schools in mainland China. Article 29 of the Compulsory Education Law (amended in 2006) states that “teachers shall not discriminate against students, punish them physically or in disguised form, or humiliate them or strip them of their dignity, nor shall they infringe on the students’ legitimate rights and interests.” Also, Article 27 of Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Minors (amended in 2020) states that: “The teaching staff of schools and kindergartens shall respect the personal dignity of minors, and shall not impose corporal punishment in disguised form, or other acts that insult the dignity of minors. Article 17 of Regulations on the Protection of Minors (Order No. 50 of the Ministry of Education, as enacted in 9/2021) states that if imposing educational punishment on a student, the school shall listen to the student's statement and defense, and make a decision in accordance with the principles of prudence, fairness and justice.

In 2020, the Primary and Elementary Education Disciplinary Rules (Trial) (as enacted in 3/2021) set up rules for regular primary and secondary schools and secondary vocational schools. It states in Article 3 that Educational administrative departments shall support, guide, and supervise schools and their teachers in implementing “educational punishment” in accordance with laws and regulations. Especially, there are several instructions on educational punishment according to the seriousness of students’ behaviors (Article 7, 8, 9, 10). Also, there are explicit prohibits for teachers from seven types of behavior in Article 12, including corporal punishment that lead to direct physical pains.

Other safety measures and COVID-19: No additional information was found.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: See Multi-level regulations.

Admission selection and processes: The new 2021 regulations set that private schools that implement compulsory education shall enroll students within the area under the jurisdiction of the examination and approval authority, and be included in the unified management of the place where the examination and approval authority is located. Private schools that implement compulsory education must not organize or disguisedly organize entrance examinations for subject knowledge, and must not enroll students in advance (art. 31). For more information, see Multi-level regulations.

Policies for vulnerable groups: See Multi-level regulations.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

School board: See Multi-level regulations.

Reporting requirements: See Multi-level regulations.

School inspection: See Multi-level regulations.

Student assessment: See Multi-level regulations.

Diplomas and degrees: See Multi-level regulations.

Sanctions: See Multi-level regulations.

 

Tertiary education is provided in institutions providing graduate programmes, regular higher education institutions and adult HEIs. 21% of tertiary institutions are owned by non-state providers which register under the Regulations on the Provision and Management of Private Colleges and Universities 2007.

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: See Multi-level regulations.

Licence: See Multi-level regulations.

Financial operation

Profit-making: See Multi-level regulations.

Taxes and subsidies: See Multi-level regulations.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: See Multi-level regulations.

Teaching profession: See Multi-level regulations.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: See Multi-level regulations.

Admission selection and processes: Private schools that implement ordinary high school education should mainly enroll students within the districted city where the school is located, and enroll students across regions if they meet the relevant regulations of the education administrative department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government. Enrollment of students receiving higher academic education shall abide by the relevant regulations of the state. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Board: See Multi-level regulations.

Reporting requirements: See Multi-level regulations.

Inspection: See Multi-level regulations.

Assessment: See Multi-level regulations.

Diplomas and degrees: See Multi-level regulations.

Sanctions: See Multi-level regulations.

 

3.2 Multi-level regulations

Most of these rules are based on the amended regulations entered in force in 2021 which can be found hereThe following section includes the Law on the Promotion of Non-public Schools (2002, amended 2016) and the Regulation on the Implementation of the Non-state Education Promotion Law (2004, amended 2021). These regulations cover non-state actors from pre-primary education to tertiary education, which are supervised by the Ministry of Education.

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: Social organisations and individuals have the right to solely or jointly establish non-state educational institutions at all levels by using no fiscal spending. However, the establishment of non-state schools for “military, police and political education” is not allowed (Article 2). The applicant should have good credit status and offer required documents. Public schools that implement compulsory education shall not establish or participate in the establishment of private schools, nor may they be converted into private schools (Article 7). The law establishes specific rules about the name of the schools, the capital required and the procedure for approval. Moreover, it sets that Private schools shall apply for registration as a legal person in accordance with relevant laws and administrative regulations, and the registration authority shall handle it in accordance with the law. The establishment of a private school shall perform its funding obligations on time and in full. During the existence of a private school, the organizer shall not withdraw funds or misappropriate school funds.

Licence: The Regulation on the Implementation of the Non-state Education Promotion Law (2004, amended 2021) states that following an inspection and evaluation of the documents provided, non-state schools can be issued a registration permit. Meanwhile, the examination and approval authorities shall make an announcement to the public. If the organizer of a private school completes the establishment within 3 years from the date of obtaining the establishment approval, it may submit an application for formal establishment. A private school can only use one name (Article 20). Article 22 adds that “for private schools that have been formally established, the examination and approval authority shall issue a school permit and make an announcement to the public”. In this regard, the duration of the school-running permit shall be compatible with the level and type of school-running of the private school: “If a private school has no violations of laws or regulations within the permitted period, the validity period can be automatically extended and a new certificate can be renewed”.

Financial operation

Profit-making:

: Article 8 of the amended Regulations on the Implementation of the Non-state Education Promotion Law of the People's Republic of China (2021 Revision) set that private schools are allowed to raise funds to establish for-profit schools for the purpose of running the school. However, their purpose cannot be changed without authorization, and these funds cannot be withdrawn or misappropriated by the provider. Private schools and their providers shall not charge students or their parents any sponsorship fees, or collect fees related to admission in a disguised form (Article 10). The law This contradiction has now been rectified however, and the new law will be put into practice on September 1st 2017.

In opposition, the 1995 Education Law of the People’s Republic of China, Art. 25 which states that Any organization or individual may not establish schools or other educational institutions for the purpose of making a profit.

Taxes and subsidies: Governments at all levels and relevant departments shall improve their supporting policies for private schools in accordance with the NEPL 2002, and give priority to supporting private schools with high teaching quality, distinctive characteristics, and significant social influence. Private schools in mainland China benefit from tax incentives offered by the state; among them, non-profit private schools benefit from the same preferential tax policies as public schools. The new regulations of 2021 set that Local people's governments at or above the county level may refer to relevant funding standards and support policies such as the per student funding of similar public schools at the same level, and provide appropriate subsidies to non-profit private schools. Local people's governments should give priority to non-profit private schools when renting out or transferring idle state-owned assets (art. 52). Moreover, Private schools enjoy preferential tax policies prescribed by the state; among them, non-profit private schools enjoy the same preferential tax policies as public schools (art. 54). For the construction or expansion of non-profit private schools, the local people's government shall, in accordance with the principle of equality with public schools, give preferential land use through allocation and other methods (art. 56). Local people's governments at or above the county level may set up special funds for the development of private education in accordance with the specific conditions of their administrative regions to support private schools to improve the quality and level of education, and reward organizers. The State encourages social forces to establish foundations or special funds for the development of private education in accordance with the law to support the development of private education (art 57). Local people's governments at or above the county level may encourage and support non-profit private schools to guarantee the treatment of teachers through government subsidies, subsidies and other methods (art. 59). Finally, in addition to the support and incentive measures provided in the Private Education Promotion Law and these Regulations, the people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government may also formulate support and incentive measures to promote the development of private education in their respective regions based on actual conditions (art. 61).

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum or education standardsPrivate schools may independently carry out educational activities in accordance with laws and the enrollment guidelines or the promises in the enrollment advertisements. The Regulation of 2021 has listed curriculum requirements for non-state education of various types as follows:

  1. Private schools of higher education and secondary vocational education may independently set up a curriculum in accordance with the school’s purpose and training objectives
  2. Private schools that implement upper secondary education and compulsory education may offer courses guided by the national curriculum and carry out educational innovation provided. Courses that are set independently shall be reported to the education administrative department for the record.
  3. Private schools of pre-primary education shall carry out childcare and educational activities by following the rules of children’s physical and mental development. Courses shall mainly be developed in the form of games and activities.
  4. Private schools that focus on vocational training shall carry out training activities in accordance with national vocational standards and related vocational training requirements (occupation, type of work).
  5. Private schools that implement compulsory education may not use foreign teaching materials.

Teaching professionAll teachers in private schools must have teaching qualifications or other corresponding professional certificates set in the Teacher Qualifications Ordinance (Article 28 of the Promotion of Non-state Schools, 2002, amended 2016). Moreover, private schools are encouraged to innovate the method of teacher recruitment and to improve teaching quality by information technology and other means. Teachers shall sign labor or employment contracts with private schools to clarify the rights and obligations of both sides. The new amended regulations of 2021 confirm these principles. Moreover they set that private schools should have a certain number of full-time teachers; among them, private schools that implement pre-school education and academic education should be equipped with full-time teachers in accordance with relevant state regulations.

The Teachers Law of The People's Republic of China (1993) does not refer to teachers in non-state schools in particular but does state that it applies “to teachers specifically engaged in education and teaching at schools of various levels and categories or other institutions of education” (Art. 2). This regulation refers to the qualifications needed as well as their training, assessment and benefits. More specifically, it states that teachers should earn an average salary shall be no less than that of State public servants (Art. 25): “Teachers' average salary shall not be lower or shall be higher than that of State public servants and shall be gradually raised. A regular system for promotion and pay rise shall be established, and the specific measures therefore shall be formulated by the State Council”. Article 26 adds that teachers of primary and secondary “shall enjoy allowances commensurate with the length of their teaching and other allowances, and the specific measures therefor shall be formulated by the administrative department of education under the State Council in conjunction with the departments concerned”.

The amended regulations 2021 also set that private schools independently recruit teachers and other staff, and shall sign labor or employment contracts with the recruited personnel in accordance with the law, clarifying the rights and obligations of both parties. For private schools to hire full-time teachers, in addition to stipulating the necessary clauses in accordance with the law, the contract should also stipulate the teacher's position and responsibilities, teacher ethics and business assessment methods, welfare treatment, training and continuing education and other matters. Teachers of public schools may not work part-time in private schools without the consent of the school. The recruitment of foreign personnel by private schools shall be implemented in accordance with relevant national regulations.

Articles 35 and 36 stipulate that Private schools shall establish a teacher training system to provide conditions for recruited teachers to receive corresponding ideological and political training and professional training. Private schools shall guarantee the treatment of faculty and staff in accordance with the law, pay wages in full and on time in accordance with the type of legal person registered with the school, and pay social insurance premiums and housing provident funds in full. The state encourages private schools to establish supplementary endowment insurance such as occupational annuities or enterprise annuities for teachers and staff in accordance with relevant regulations.

Moreover, the amended regulations establish that private schools and their teachers, staff, and educated persons shall enjoy the same rights as public schools of the same level and their teachers, staff, and educated persons who apply for relevant scientific research projects and subjects established by the government. Relevant project management departments shall allocate funds for scientific research projects and research projects in full and in a timely manner in accordance with regulations.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: Any private school and its owner shall not collect fees related to enrollment from students and their parents in the name of sponsorship fee or in a disguised form (Article 10). For non-profit private schools that have participation from public schools, use state-owned assets, or receive subsidies from the government per student, local governments (provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities) may set ceiling prices (Article 42).

Admission selection and processes: According to Regulation 2021, private schools providing pre-primary education and compulsory education (primary and lower secondary education) shall have the same right of student enrollment as public schools at the same level/kind, and can independently determine the standards and methods for enrollment. The education administrative department and the human resources and social security administrative department of the local people's government at or above the county level shall provide equal treatment to private schools outside of the region for enrolling students locally, and shall not set up barriers to enrollment across regions and impose regional barriers. Private schools enrolling students shall abide by the enrollment rules, maintain the order of enrollment, and admit students in an open, fair and just manner. Private schools enroll foreign students in accordance with relevant national regulations (Article 31).

Policies for vulnerable student groups: Private schools offering formal education shall establish a system of student financial aids according to the standards no lower than that of the local public schools of the same type at the same level. Corresponding funds from the tuition income shall be used for financial aids to the students (Article 39).

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Board: Article 11 of the Regulations for the Implementation of the Private Education Promotion Law of the People's Republic of China states that the school charter of private schools shall include the method of forming the school board or other decision-making bodies, the composition of personnel, terms, and the rule of procedure). Private schools shall be required to select members of the first school board or other decision-making bodies. school founders  can participate in or appoint representatives to participate in the council, board of directors or other forms of decision-making bodies in accordance with the procedures and requirements stipulated in laws, regulations, and school constitutions, and exercise corresponding decision-making and management powers in accordance with the powers stipulated in the school constitution. Art. 25 stipulates that the person in charge of the board of directors, board of directors, or other decision-making bodies of a private school shall have the nationality of the People’s Republic of China, possess political rights and full capacity for civil conduct, settle in China, be of good character, and have no intentional criminal record or education field. The legal representative of a private school shall be the person in charge of the decision-making body of the private school or the principal. Art. 26 set the rules about the composition of the management board , or other forms of decision-making bodies of private schools  specifiying also that the members of management board , or other decision-making bodies of private schools that implement compulsory education shall have the nationality of the People's Republic of China, and shall have representatives appointed by the examination and approval authority. The board of directors, board of directors or other forms of decision-making bodies of private schools convene at least two meetings a year. A meeting for specific reasons listed in the law can be called  by at least one third  of the member of the school council or other management board.

Inspection: According to the Regulation of 2021, the Department of Education, Human Resources and Social Security, Civil Affairs, and Market Supervision and Management shall, in accordance with their responsibilities, establish an annual inspection and annual report system for private schools. For example, credit files of schools and practice credit systems of sponsors and principals shall be established by relevant departments (Article 47). Also, the examination and approval authority shall promptly disclose the information about the sponsors of private schools and the conditions for running the school (Article 48).

Assessments: In 2021, the Ministry of Education announced that first and second grades of elementary school will not need to take paper-based exams. For other grades, the school can organise a final exam every semester. Mid-term exams are allowed for junior high. Localities are not allowed to organise regional or inter-school exams for all grades of primary school. The regulations 2021 set that People's governments at all levels shall ensure that educated persons in private schools enjoy the same level of education as those in similar public schools at the same level in terms of advancement, employment, social preferential treatment, participation in advanced selection, and state funding such as student loans, scholarships and grants.

Reporting requirements: All private schools are required to submit an article of association and publish it to the public, including their rights/obligations, purpose/vision, legal representatives and other aspects. (Article 19) At the end of each fiscal year, a private school shall entrust an accounting firm to audit the annual financial report. Non-profit private schools should be based on the audited annual non-restricted net asset increase, and for-profit private schools should be based on the audited annual net income, which is not less than the annual non-restricted net asset increase or net income. 10% of the development fund is drawn for the development of the school (art. 46). Art 49 of the amended regulations 2021 stipulate that for-profit private schools shall publicize relevant information through the national credit information sharing platform and the national enterprise credit information publicity system. Relevant departments should support and encourage private schools to establish industry organizations in accordance with the law, study and formulate corresponding quality standards, establish certification systems, and formulate and promote contract model texts that reflect industry rules and characteristic requirements.

Diplomas and degrees: Private higher schools that meet the qualifications for degree-granting may obtain the corresponding qualifications for issuing the diplomas and certificates for their students after approval in accordance with relevant laws and administrative regulations (Article 32).

Sanctions: According to the Private Education Promotion Law, if any private school is found to have no actual act of enrolling students or running a school, the registration license shall be abolished naturally upon expiration, and the examination and approval authorities shall make an announcement thereof. If any private school terminates, it shall return the permit for running a school and cancel its registration with the authority, and make an announcement to the public (Article 50). Moreover, the owner, the actual controller, the decision-making institution or members of the supervisory agency of private schools shall be asked to make corrections, take punishments, or be held criminally responsible according to the seriousness of the circumstances. Main acts may include using illegal fund-raising for running a school, changing the name/type/owner of the school without authorization and endangering the stability and safety of a school (Article 62). Private schools shall be punished if they meet any circumstances including deviating from the national policy, unable to meet the teaching requirements, having major safety problems on teaching facilities (Article 63). Art. 63 of the regulations amended in 2021 set that If a  private school violates the different principles or use behaviours listed therein it shall be punished in accordance with Article 62 of the Private Education Promotion Law.

 

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring

In mainland China, the provision of private tutoring is growing fast and students and parents have heavy demand for private (supplementary) tutoring at primary and secondary levels. The prevalence of the phenomenon has been particularly noted at the primary education level, where over 70% of students reported receiving some form of tutoring. Also, it is more common in large cities and high-income Eastern provinces than in rural areas.

The Opinions of the General Office of the State Council on standardizing the development of after-school training institutions 2018 (hereinafter referred as the Opinions 2018) states that the content, enrollment rates, progress and time schedule of academic subjects of off-campus private tutoring institutions shall be examined and recorded with local educational departments and published to the public. Moreover, it points out the necessity of promoting after-school services. Relevant arrangements is further clarified in the Notice of the General Office of the Ministry of Education on the promotion of local after-school services in the compulsory education system regarding innovative measures and typical experiences 2021.

Recently, the 7/2021 Opinions on Further Easing Students’ Burden on Homework and Off-campus Tutoring in Compulsory Education (hereinafter referred as the Opinions 2021) was issued by the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council. For-profit tutoring for core school subjects and off-campus tutoring on weekends and official holidays are all banned in order to alleviate students’ burden. To protect students’ eyesight, there are some guidelines on online tutoring, such as “each class hour should not exceed 30 minutes” and “the tutoring shall end before 9 pm”. Nine cities are selected as national pilot cities to implement the guidelines, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Changzhi, Weihai and Nantong. More requirements regarding the establishment and financial operation will be detailed as follows.

Entry/Establishment

According to the Opinions 2021, a strict approval and supervision system for off-campus tutoring programmes featuring curriculum subjects will be adopted. The local governments shall stop approving the establishment of new off-campus curriculum subject-tutoring institutions for students in compulsory education; meanwhile, the existing institutions shall be registered as non-profit institutions.

The regions no longer approve new off-campus subject training institutions for pupils in compulsory education. Existing subject training institutions are uniformly registered as non-profit institutions. Online subject training institutions that were originally registered are being changed to a review and approval system. For non-disciplinary training institutions, all regions must distinguish between sports, culture and art, science and technology, etc., specify the relevant departments, formulate category standards, and conduct strict review and approval. 

Financial operation and quality

The content of tutoring for academic subjects shall not exceed the corresponding national curriculum standards according to the Opinions 2018. The certificates and licenses of institutions shall be subject to the system of annual inspection and publication of annual reports by local departments. Moreover, institutions may not charge fees for more than three months at one time. Owing to the widespread promotion of private tutoring over the Internet, it becomes more difficult for local or central governments to hamper the growth of private tutoring and to curb on their illegal behaviors (Kwok, 2010).

The Opinions 2021 states that curriculum subject-tutoring institutions are not allowed to go public for financing and foreign capital are banned from investing in such institutions. Moreover, the fees of private tutoring institutions shall be regulated and align with the government-guided prices. Mainstream media, new media, billboards in public places and residential areas and online platforms shall not publish or broadcast off-campus tutoring advertisements.

Teaching profession

The Opinions 2021 takes a zero-tolerance approach towards in-service teachers for for-profit tutoring after class. The employment of foreign nationals in China shall comply with the relevant regulations of the State, and it is strictly prohibited to employ foreign nationals abroad to conduct training activities. Furthermore, any overseas education courses are barred from off-campus tutoring. The Opinions 2018 also states that supplementary private tuition centers in China are required to have stable teaching staff and shall not recruit in-service teachers of primary and secondary schools. Teachers engaged in the teaching of academic subjects (i.e. Chinese, Mathematics, English) must have corresponding teaching qualifications and meet other basic requirements.

According to the MoE’s Answers to some questions regarding the Opinions 2021, Guidelines on the Off-campus Training Materials for Primary and Secondary School Students will be launched soon. Finally, in July 2021, the central government banned teachers based overseas from conducting any training activity in China.

 

This profile was drafted by Jieyu Wang during her internship with the GEM Report.

Last modified:

Fri, 10/12/2021 - 09:41