• Add to Favorites
  • Subscribe
  • Friend us on Facebook
  • Follow Caijing on Twitter

Battle for Education Rights Being Waged in Beijing

07-15 16:56 《财经》杂志 《财经》杂志
Inadequate educational resources, coupled with Beijing’s tough stance on controlling its non-resident population, are the underlying causes which have led to the sharpening contradictions.

Bystaff reporter Wu Shan and intern Song Jia

A new elementary to middleschool admissions system policy unveiled by the Beijing Commission of MunicipalEducation (BMCE) in April this year hasplaced newrequirements on "social security" payments and student status management,raising the threshold for enrollment of children without Beijing hukou(household registration), andresulting in the outbreak of a "battle for the right to education"among parents of the city’s school-age children.

On the surface, the causeappears to be an opaque and wavering policy decision-making process. However,in-depth analysis shows that inadequate educational resources investment andmanagement mechanisms, coupled with Beijing’s tough stance on controlling itsnon-resident population, are the underlying causes which have led to thesharpening contradictions. 

Inaccordance with the BMCE’s requirements, in order for children without hukou to received compulsory educationin Beijing, their parents are required to provide five kinds of documents: documents proving the parents or guardians work in Beijingand live there; the household registration booklets of all family members;parents' Temporary Residence Permits in Beijing; and documents proving thechildren cannot be cared for where their hukou are registered.

TheBMCE authorized districts and counties to "combine actual policy in theimplementation of detailed rules." Some districts even added a proof ofsocial security qualifying requirement on the basis of the five kinds of documents.

Waveringand vague admission policies have left many parents even more confused andupset. When enrollment began in Chaoyang District’s Cuigezhuang Township on May5, there was no mention of the proof of social security payments qualifyingrequirement. Several days later when parents went to submit the five kinds ofdocuments, they were notified that "both parents [of the enrolled child]must have social security,” and “social security payments must have been madewithin the district.”

Asdoubts started growing, BMCE issued a statement May 29 once again emphasizing thatchildren without Beijing hukou andwhose parents did not submit the five kinds of documents in full would not beallowed to attend school in the city. The statement also said that according tothe Ministry of Education’s management requirements, mobile students could notobtain student status at schools which did not meet standards; if a studentwithout student status returned to the place of domicile to attend school, theschool in the student’s place of domicile must grant him or her student statusaccording to the law. In other words, the local government in the student’s registeredresidence has the responsibility to receive the students and solve enrollmentissues.

The"primary and middle school student status management measures"implemented since Sept. 1, 2013 stipulated that the country’s 200 millionprimary and middle school students would receive life-long enrollment numbersand be entered into a national unified electronic student status managementsystem. Students would henceforth be required to use their enrollment numbersin order to participate in a series of entrance examinations. Moreover,unapproved private schools not listed in the student management system wouldhave no official status, meaning that students who attended these schools wouldnot be allowed to participate in the high school and college entranceexaminations.

However,many principals at local schools for migrant children have said that parentsand students who have returned to their hometowns to apply for studentenrollment numbers have met with various difficulties.

SinceMarch this year, parents, students, and principals of schools for migrantchildren in Beijing’s Chaoyang, Daxing, Haidian, Changping, and Tongzhoudistricts have visited the Ministry of Education and municipal and districtboards of education on several occasions to demand that Beijing schools ortheir registered residence grant enrollment numbers to about 70,000 school-age migrantchildren in Beijing.  

Raisingrequirements for school enrollment is also being viewed as an attempt by cityauthorities to control the population.

“Student status management cannot become atool for local governments to shirk their responsibility for education,” said asource at a research institute under the Ministry of Education. “If situationswhere mobile students are rejected by education departments in both inflow andoutflow areas occur, we must research appropriate countermeasures in a timelyfashion."

Full article in Chinese: http://magazine.caijing.com.cn/2014-07-14/114329335.html

Editors’ Picks »