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China education

Primary school in China retracts ‘parents must be graduates’ admission rule after outcry

Private school in Guangzhou has been forced to take in pupils even if their parents don’t have tertiary education

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2017, 3:46pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2017, 3:56pm

A private primary school in Guangzhou had been requiring prospective pupils’ parents to hold university degrees as a condition for their admission.

Beijing Youth Daily reported on Tuesday that the school confirmed it used to have such a requirement for parents, but had scrapped the policy after the local education bureau demanded it.

The requirement for parents was first exposed on the messaging platform WeChat. Users widely shared a picture of a notice at the school, which read: “This school only accept parents who have a bachelor’s degree qualification or above.”

The school was widely criticised on social media, with some calling the policy discriminatory. A Weibo user wrote: “Degrees do not really stand for anything. This is discrimination in disguise.”

But some expressed sympathy for the school. Another Weibo user wrote: “It is a private school, for crying out loud. It is their own business how they want to set up the rules. It doesn’t matter how we view it.”

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The local education department said that although private schools had the right to decide their own policies, this admission requirement had violated the principle of fair education. The authority said it had harshly criticised the school.

This is not the first time schools in China have made family backgrounds part of their admissions policies. In recent years, as more people from rural China flood into coastal cities, some local governments have been experimenting with a point system for rationing places in public schools for children of immigrant parents.

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The point system takes into account factors such as parents’ educational backgrounds and property ownership in rating a prospective student. In Kunshan, Jiangsu, while a parent’s master’s degree could earn a child 20 points, a bachelor’s degree only gives eight points.

According to the Shenzhen Economic Daily, the city government is currently mulling giving more points to parents who have two children, as an incentive to increase the birth rate.