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2021-09-14 09:51:59

Education authorities in the eastern city of Hangzhou said that all university students engaged in coaching school children must acquire a teaching certificate, drawing concerns from students and parents already anxious about the clampdown on private after-school tutoring.

The city’s education bureau said that individuals in the academic training sector must possess teaching accreditations to teach school children as per the central government’s latest policy, local media reported Monday. But local rules stipulate that individuals must have a college diploma or a bachelor’s degree to even sit for exams granting teaching certifications.

This means university students, who sometimes tutor young children at their homes for additional income, would be ineligible to provide such services. However, it’s currently unclear how or if violators will be punished if caught doing so.

The announcement by Hangzhou authorities has sparked heated discussion among local students, many of whom say home tutoring helps bring in extra money and even cover their tuition. So far, while the government has restricted extra tutoring classes under the “double reduction” policy, including the prohibition of foreign-based teachers, Hangzhou has become the first to provide a clear answer to local university students either continuing or planning to offer such services.

“The pay by hour ranges from 50 yuan to 100 yuan ($8-16) — it helps to subsidize my daily expenditure,” said Fan Jia, a sophomore at a foreign language university in Hangzhou. “It’s much more difficult to find other job opportunities that pay as well and are as easy to secure.”

Over the years, universities have themselves helped students secure part-time tutoring jobs. But many higher education institutions that had for decades connected their students with families requiring tutors — including East China Normal University that started such facilitations since 1995 — have terminated such programs.

As many tutors lose their jobs in the wake of the double reduction policy, parents are seeking alternate ways to continue their relationship with tutors in a bid to reduce any negative impact on their children. While some parents have organized fundraisers to help the tutors, others have employed them as “live-in teachers,” paying them a monthly salary between 10,000 yuan and 30,000 yuan.

However, the Ministry of Education has warned that any tutoring services operating in disguise would be a violation of its policy, and the guilty parties “would be severely dealt with.” The top education authority added that such practices would become more dispersed, making them difficult to track or supervise. 

While some parents believe the double reduction policy may hurt their child’s academics, some also say that barring university students from providing home tutoring could be detrimental to them too. A Hangzhou parent, surnamed Tang, said a student helps her 9-year-old daughter with math twice a week, and it’s proven beneficial for both.

“University students working part-time as home tutors is completely different from full-time teachers working part-time to make extra money,” she told Sixth Tone. “I don’t want to see (the tutor) scared away from this job because of the rule.”

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: A university student teaches a child at her home in Fuzhou, Fujian province, July 22, 2013. People Visual)