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Parents and teachers divided amid crackdown on private tutoring
Author: EnglishTeacher    2021-09-03


Parents and teachers divided amid crackdown on private tutoring


Many on social media were outraged by the parent’s acts. One Weibo user, ‘sheep’s life’, summed up the ethical issue in a few lines: 

The parent took the initiative for the make-up class, she was the first to violate the rule

She reported the teacher only after her children were admitted by the target school, she is like a scorpion stinging a frog upon crossing a river.

She blackmailed the teacher by taking the advantage of the education authority’s reporting system.

Upon receiving the extra RMB 2,000 yuan, she did not retract her report as promised. Such a person has zero credibility.

A mother who is running a homeschool facility made a similar comment on Weibo: 

How can such a selfish person be a parent? Such behavior is like persecuting someone who did you a favor. It is a betrayal of trust. Even if the teacher has violated the regulations, you should be the last one to report them. The teacher assisted your kids. Instead of being thankful, you trod on your morality just to get back the tuition fee… I suggest people stay away from such human beings. I will keep my kids away from this kind of human being. 

This is not an isolated incident. China released a ‘double reduction’ education policy in July. The objective is to reduce parents’ expenses and students’ academic burden in both public and private education systems. Under the new policy, private tutoring businesses have to restructure as non-profits. They are banned from being listed on the stock market and prohibited from offer tutoring classes on weekends and school holidays. Public school teachers are prohibited from making extra income through private tutoring.     

Yet, there is a strong demand for private tutoring in China as education resources are concentrated in a small number of prestigious schools which are mostly located in big cities. In addition, thanks to China's one-child policy, many mainland Chinese families are willing to spend a lot of money on their child’s education to pave their way to success. Regardless of the new education policy, many parents have continued looking for private tutors and some private schools have gone underground. 

To ensure that the policy is fully enforced, the education authorities have encouraged parents and students to report practices that violate the policy guidelines. In some regions, the authorities have gone so far as to raid the underground private tutoring classrooms. 

Guangdong province has received 161 complaints so far about institutions offering tutoring classes during the summer holidays or teachers accepting money or gifts for private tutoring. One complaint emerged after some students from a high school in Jiujiang city complained that their school had organized paid make-up classes during the summer holiday. The school principal explained that the classes were not compulsory and they were organized to meet parents’ demands.  He said that complaints were filed by students who did not enjoy attending school. Eventually, the school was forced to suspend the summer class.

The reporting system has strained the relationship between teachers and parents. Some criticized the parents in a comment thread of a news report about the Guangdong complaint hotline: 

Can you provide a hotline for the public to report parents who bribe teachers with gifts — forcing them to take the gifts and then reporting them?

I also want to ask if the authorities can set up a hotline to report parents who snoop around for teachers to give private tutoring. Even though the teachers say no, they kept making phone calls late at night. Private tutoring involves two parties, why do they only punish the teachers?

But some insisted on blaming the teachers:

Don’t be a teacher if you feel its unjust. Don’t hurt our country's offspring by refusing to teach properly at schools so that you can earn the extra income outside schools. Teachers without a moral baseline are a disgrace to the profession.

People will love and respect you if you are a devoted teacher. If you withhold your knowledge in class to pave your way to earn extra income outside the classroom, you can’t call yourself a teacher. 


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