Chinese City Shuts All Tutoring Schools for Young Children
In an apparent move in China’s nationwide effort to reduce over-competitive practices in the education system, Yulin, a city in northwestern Shaanxi province, has announced a blanket ban on certain kinds of training schools.
All extracurricular institutes that teach first-graders to ninth-graders core school subjects will have to shut their doors, a local news portal reported Wednesday. Many parents sign their children up for such classes so they don’t fall behind their peers, creating a lucrative market.
“Most training institutes offer courses with difficulty levels that surpass what the education authority’s guidelines, which is not allowed,” a source with the city-level education bureau was quoted as saying in the report. They added that, in the future, students’ educational needs would be addressed by classes and after-class services at regular schools only.
When reached by Sixth Tone on Wednesday, an employee of New Oriental Training Institute’s Yulin branch confirmed they received the notice on Tuesday and had halted all ongoing classes after a brief meeting the same day.
When or whether classes will restart depends on the government, the woman said. Yulin’s Education Bureau declined Sixth Tone’s interview request.
On Wednesday evening, Hongxing News reported that a Yulin Education Bureau employee had told them the policy was still being discussed internally, and that the provisional plan was to only suspend tutoring schools for the summer to allow the bureau to carry out section-wide inspections.
Long-running government efforts to reduce educational pressure on young children have received renewed attention in recent months as China promises to lessen the burden of parenthood at the same time as it loosened birth restrictions.
In June, the government announced a new department to oversee the tutoring industry, and handed out million-yuan fines for false advertising to 15 tutoring schools.
This article has been updated to include the Hongxing News report.
Editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.
(Header image: A child cries outside a tutoring school in Hefei, Anhui province, 2018. Jiang Yu/People Visual)