The owners of private schools in China have been forced to turn over their facilities to the state.
On August 25, 2021, the Ministry of Education of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) responded to questions from the media regarding the “Notice on Regulating the Establishment of Public Schools or Participation in the Establishment of Private Compulsory Education Schools.” The Ministry of Education stated that schools must cooperate with the CCP and carry out education reform as an important political task. Under the new regulation, private schools will be either handed over to the state or cease their operation within two years. The CCP’s suspension of private schools appears to be politically motivated to strengthen ideological control and amounts to misappropriating private assets.
The fallout from the education reform is rippling across the country.
On August 25, 2021, Yingshang School in Anhui Province notified its students’ parents that it closed its doors. In 2020, the school was a flagship in Yingshang County’s investment promotion campaign. The Jiangsu Zhufeng Education Group established it and invested in it. It was to provide elementary, junior high, and high school education. The campus has a construction area of 130,000 square meters and can accommodate 6,300 students. The school year was scheduled to start at the end of August.
Recently, the Huaiyang No. 1 Senior High School in Henan Province announced that the school will be donated in its entirety to the local government to “repay society.” It had a teaching staff of 1,300 and more than 20,000 students. The Henan Provincial Department of Education approved the school in 2002 and started to admit students in 2005. The school was touted as a model high school in Henan Province.
Jiaxiang Foreign Language School in Sichuan Province was turned over to the local government and will operate as a public school. It is the first compulsory education school in Sichuan that was converted from a private school to a public school after the implementation of the “Notice on Suspending the Approval of the Establishment of Private Compulsory Education Schools” that the Sichuan Provincial Department of Education had issued on June 11, 2021. The Notice requires all local governments to suspend the approval of private schools in the compulsory education stage.
In Hunan Province, on June 22, 2021, the Department of Education issued a notice on regulating private compulsory education. It requested that private junior high and primary schools reduce their students to below five percent of the total compulsory education students. It amounts to a reduction of approximately 364,000 students. Further, Hunan Province will no longer approve new private compulsory education schools.
In Jiangsu Province, the CCP Education Work Leading Group issued a directive stating that it will no longer approve new private compulsory education schools. The order sets the goal of reducing students at private compulsory education schools to below five percent of the entire compulsory education students within two or three years.
1.) The Government of the People’s Republic of China, August 25, 2021
2.) Zhihu, August 3, 2021