private schools in China

Demand for private schooling is increasing in China, but supply is stagnant. Selection is tighter and the number of disappointed parents and grandparents is increasing.

[W]hile pupil intake has soared [in Chinese private schools], the number of schools has fallen, leaving those remaining at bursting point — and prompting ever more extreme methods to ensure only the highest-qualified pupils get in.

Bewildered parents took to social media last week after being forced to take IQ tests before interviews at two Shanghai primary schools. They were also asked to complete questionnaires detailing their own educational and professional credentials, as well as those of the students’ grandparents. ….

Last year 2,530 students in the port of Nanjing lined up around the block to test for 320 spaces at the privately operated Nanjing Foreign Languages Middle School. ….

An article about the education system’s damaging effect on social mobility was widely shared when it was published this year on the China Institute for Educational Finance Research website but was later taken down for unspecified reasons.

Emily Feng, “Extreme selection methods spark China education storm“, Financial Times, 19 May 2017 (gated paywall).

Tuition fees at private schools are high, but not high enough to discourage applications well in excess of the number of available places. “In Shanghai”, for example, “private school fees range from Rmb10,000 to Rmb95,000 ($1,450-$13,755) a semester — a huge expense in a city where the average monthly salary was Rmb7,000 in 2015”.


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