China’s top legislature has banned for-profit private schools from providing compulsory education, affecting some 12 million students in 10,200 private schools.
A specific timeline has not yet been established, but the revision clearly means that all for-profit private schools in China are prohibited from teaching students between grades 1 through 9. As expected, the revised law was adopted Monday on a third readying by the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.
Private schools will become exempt from the proposed ban if they registered as non-profit schools, but doing so would require government approval on the setting of tuition fees.
Private education in China was previously a booming industry that attracted huge investments. With relaxed restrictions now at an end, the government is now seeking tighter control by ending the ability of schools to set the curriculum as well.
The spread of “Western values” at Chinese schools has been a constant concern in China. Earlier last month, Shanghai authorities told 21 international schools to adopt state-sanctioned educational subjects as part of their curriculum. In January 2015, Education Minister Yuan Guiren said that Chinese universities should never “let textbooks promoting Western values appear in our classes.”
At the same time, the tightening of government control over education follows greater central oversight over a number of sectors including information dissemination, news and the internet and comes when the Communist Party of China has rallied behind Chinese President Xi Jinping as the “core leader”.