China Leadership Watch

By Bernard Geoxavier, Email: Following Chinese domestic politics and its impact on Chinese economics, international trade and international security.

Hu Bei Province, Jing Shan No. 1 High School: Students Burn Books in Protest

For an account of the story in Chinese, click here.

A story that itself has caught fire over the last few days on Baidu, High School students in Jing Shan chose to burn their books in protest of fees and tuition increases getting out of control. (本学校是湖北省京山一中)

In a trend that has mirrored pent up frustration in many parts of the country over sometimes double digits increases in secondary and high education tuition fees, these students took matters into there own hands.  This school in particular, implemented the follow prices for student supplies: Exam booklet (¥6), Draft paper and notebook (¥12), Printing fees (¥38), Air Conditioning fees (¥15), Multimedia fees (¥15), all together, an average students’ fees topped over ¥500. A student run publication, which was originally given out for free, was told to start changing ¥10 per copy.  They never made a second publication.  Keep in mind that an average family income is running about ¥2500 RMB a month.

News out of the county and provincial party offices this morning report that the Party secretary and principal of the school has been replaced.  There are outstanding recommendations that country education bureau chief Liu Guangjin also be suspended from his post and that a thorough top to bottom review of school policy be done in accordance to regulation.  No word on if the students demands for lifting a number of these fees will be met.  

While this incident may have garnered more attention that normal, the problem is becoming pervasive.  Schools have increasing starting using programs, test, tutoring sessions and the like as opportunities to make money rather than truly invest in their students.  This process extends all the business schools set up in almost every accredited college in China which some have labeled nothing more than ‘cash cows’ and pay-for-diploma programs.

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