Mother in Shenzhen begs for school spot for her daughter

Katei Wang , June 20, 2012 7:00am

Just like in the West, many Chinese parents pressure their children to study hard and get into a good school. However, unlike in most Western countries, a public education is more sought after than a private education.

A Shenzhen woman kneeled outside the gate of the Education Bureau for over an hour with her daughter, begging for a primary school place on Sunday, according to People Network.

Hundreds of parents flooded into Nanshan District Education Bureau to ask for primary school places for their children. The unidentified mother knelt in front of the gate of the bureau’s Petition Office with her daughter.

Some parents told reporters that they had applied for school places but had never received approval from the bureau, despite meeting all the criteria.

“Why aren’t we allowed to enrol our children in a state-run school despite fulfilling our side of the bargain,” said a mother, Mrs. Cai. Her child’s name did not appear on the list of new primary school students in Nanshan District in 2012, she went to present a petition to the bureau and saw that there were many parents in the same situation. Mrs. Cai said most of her family don’t have Shenzhen hukou but have lived in Shenzhen for more than a decade. Therefore, they have met the criteria to enter a state-run school. In order to gather the documents they need for the application process, they often have to go back and forth between their hometowns and Shenzhen.

“I am also willing to go to a privately-run school, it doesn’t matter, but someone wants to blackmail us.” said Mr. Li. The Education Bureau promised to offer subsidies to families (from grade one to grade six) if they enroll in a privately-run school and some families agreed. But they know that they have to pay full tuition to the privately-run school and then get 300RMB only after registering.

The vice director general of the Education Bureau received the parents and said he would solve the “qualification of education” problem and ensured that “each child will be educated”.

The story has been the talk of the microblogs. Weibo user Zhiyuxi Life responded, “My dream is to live in the world that the media reports. A world in which all children can get a place at school, the poor can afford health care, and the graduate employment rate is 99%.” Another opined that in China, a member of the Old Hundred Names (common people), had to get down on their knees and beg for things that would be taken for granted in other countries. Another pointed out the irony of a country able to afford to set up a space station but unable to educate its young.