ministry of education

imgres-1Students at primary and secondary schools will no longer be required to “courageously struggle” and “stand up for what’s right”. Yesterday, the Beijing Ministry of Education official website published a Primary & Secondary School Student Rules (Draft Soliciting Suggestions), asking for suggestions and opinions from the public. City residents can submit feedback through email and various other methods until the 20th of this month.

Reporters from the Beijing Morning Post read over the new draft and found that compared to the 2004 version, one of the original rules was missing, making a total of nine rules. The new draft still includes the “three loves”, “three emphases”, and “three protections”, which are love of motherland, love of study, love of labor, emphasis on culture, emphasis on honestly, emphasis on rule of law, protection of safety, protection of health, and protection of homeland. These items are clarified and requirements are made more specific.

According to reporters, the 2004 publication of Primary & Secondary School Student Rules, Primary School Daily Behavioral Regulations, and Secondary School Daily Behavioral Regulations (below referred to as “Rules” and “Regulations”) were broadly adopted and implemented by schools, being actively brought into the educational culture and producing clear results. With the changing times, the process of implementing Rules and Regulations  also encountered some issues, such as the impracticality of some rules and the redundancy and excess of content in certain parts of Regulations. For this reason, the Ministry of Education began the process of revising rules in 2012,  with a committee of experts researching specific topics. Then, the Ministry broadly received advice and opinions from the experts, as well as primary and secondary school principals, local Departments of Education, and others through conferences and other means. The revision work continued to take current trends into account, prioritizing basic and easy to remember principles, and stressing implementability, thus merging Rules and Regulations to produce the new Primary & Secondary School Student Rules (Draft Soliciting Suggestions).

Reporters noted the first rule in the 2004 edition was, “Love the motherland, love the people, and love the Chinese Communist Party”. In the new edition, it has been changed to “Love the motherland,” with the following explication, “Respect the national flag and national emblem, stand while singing the national anthem as a group, salute while the flag is raised, understand the country’s past and present situation.” The content is more specific and has clearer requirements for primary and secondary school students.

The new Rules has also added other timely clauses, like “cultivate the habit of reading” under “love of study”, “limit time on the internet” under “protection of health”, and “properly sort trash” under “protection of homeland”. These all stick to the real life situations of primary and middle school students today.

Additionally, the new version of the Rules has removed “courageously struggle” and “stand up for what’s right”  that appeared in the 2004 edition.


Primary & Secondary School Student Rules (Draft Soliciting Suggestions)

1. Love the motherland, respect the national flag and national emblem, stand while singing the national anthem as a group, salute while the flag is raised, understand the country’s past and present situation.

2. Love study, be diligent in thought and question. Take pleasure in enquiry, be attentive in class and lectures, bravely state your opinions. Turn in your homework on time, and cultivate the habit of reading.

3. Love labor and take care of things for yourself. Actively accept housework, proactively clean your home, and get involved in your community. Enthusiastically volunteer and serve, and experience the products of labor.

4. Emphasize culture and respect teachers, parents, and elders. Treat others in a friendly and fair manner, be appropriate and respectful in word and deed, form lines on your own, maintain public sanitation, and care for public property.

5. Emphasize honesty, punctuality, and honor your commitments. When you recognize your mistakes, correct them. Have a sense of responsibility, don’t plagiarize and don’t cheat, don’t take things from others, and if you borrow things, return them in a timely manner.

6. Emphasize rule of law and respect the rules of your school. Help keep an orderly class, promote awareness of the rules, get to know the law, and don’t engage in illegal activities.

7. Protect safety, stop at all red lights and proceed at green lights. Guard against drowning, don’t play with fire, understand requirements in order to protect yourself, stay away from drugs, and treat life preciously.

8. Protect health and cultivate healthy and sanitary habits. Don’t smoke and don’t drink, limit time on the internet, reject bad information, exercise regularly, and maintain a positive attitude.

9. Protect your homeland by conserving food, water, and electricity. Properly sort garbage, take care of trees, grass, and flowers, lead a low-carbon and environmentally friendly life, and protect the natural environment.



Original publication date: August 3, 2014

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loansHow to Clean Up the Ten Billion in Debt?

On January 28th at the end of the eleventh Guangdong Province CPPCC meeting, the Guangdong branch of the China Association for Promoting Democracy submitted a report to the general assembly  pointing out that up to 2012, fifty publicly administered institutions of higher education in Guangdong had amassed debt totaling 9.869 billion RMB, with interest payments to banks of 700 million per year.

According to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education’s promulgation of Regarding  the Alleviation of Debt Burdens of Regional Colleges & Universities: Opinions on Resolving Higher Education Debt Risk, schools are the main bodies responsible for debt. So, do these schools have the ability to repay the debts? If not, who should be responsible for paying the debt for them?


Expansion-related woes or not enough investment?

One school has complained that after spending 300 million to begin development of a new campus, banks tightened up and would not continue to provide the necessary 200-300 million more necessary to complete construction. The school says construction on the new campus area has been halted against their will for over a year, and they still must pay the bank over 20 million RMB per year. In fact, this embarrassing situation at Guangdong University of Education is currently common among provincial-level schools in Guangdong. Since 2008, Guangdong area schools have taken out many new loans needed for expansion, and by June of 2011, many provincial-level schools had borrowed various sums ranging from 300 to 500 million RMB.

Why are all these schools in debt? From one perspective, it because of expansion. Professor Chen Jian of Guangdong University of Education, one of the writers of the report at the Guangdong Province CPPCC meeting, indicated that the schools all have standards for expansion set by the province. Total campus populations for the province’s full-scale universities and colleges increased from 220 thousand in 1999 to 1.527 million in 2011.

Every new student requires a new bed, space in laboratories, desks and chairs, and related equipment for experiments, facilities, and more. If the number of people increases, then new buildings, cafeterias, roads, gymnasiums, and other necessary basic academic infrastructure must be built.

Schools also have their own reasons for expansion. Reporters were told by the dean of a relatively small provincial-level institute that the only way to increase revenues and alleviate the capital issues is to take out loans for expansion and increase student numbers, then through increased tuitions slowly pay back loans.

The way vice-dean of Guangdong Institute of Education Huang Wei sees it, Guangdong schools have such a heavy debt burden because of insufficient appropriation of funding. According to national requirements, the per-student allocation of funds should be no lower than 12 thousand RMB. Although Guangdong province set up a pre-2013 province-wide 12,000 RMB student fund average allocation goal (excluding Shenzhen), the actual average allocation came to 7,600 per student, with 4,400 per student going to dedicated capital funding. This capital funding is generally distributed through the Guangdong Department of Education, and goes mostly to institutes under the control of Guangdong provincial ministries and committees, as well as “211 Project” schools.


Expose the Government to Debt or Make Schools Responsible?

How can the debt crisis be resolved? According to the aforementioned opinions of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Education, as the main body responsible for repayment of the debts, schools should operate under the principle of “loan taker is loan payer”.  The funds for repayment should be provided by the schools, with the government providing support and assistance.

Although the opinions of the two government bodies are very clear, there are still a variety of different opinions. The report submitted by the Guangdong branch of the China Association for Promoting Democracy suggests investigating school leaders for erratic and irresponsible operations, but should also take the actual situation of schools into account and give support to those schools that truly lack the ability to repay loans. As for reasonable loans, such as ones that were used for infrastructural development, the government should take full responsibility, and if schools have already paid a portion of the principal and interest, the provincial government should return these funds. At the same time, while investigating the scale of capital investment at key and non-key schools, the government should emphasize the assistance of regular institutions of higher education.

Liu Huijian, dean of the Guangdong Institute of  Science and Technology, suggested that Guangdong learn from the methods of other provinces, and use a one-time public funding unified financial appropriations plan to clear the books of the nearly ten billion in debt.

Reporters learned from the Ministry of Education that Guangdong has not required nor implemented the 4% GDP standard, but will increase educational funding yearly until it reaches 25% of the budget. Sun Yat Sen University Vice Dean of Operations Xu Jiarui said that this method of setting the growth rate is not as rigorous as using GDP. From his perspective, the key to resolving university debts is still guaranteeing investment in education. “Last year, Guangdong spent 146.649 billion RMB on education. With a provincial GDP  totaling 5.7 trillion RMB, if we use the 4% GDP standard for educational funding, the province’s current funding looks to be short more than 800 million.”

Zeng Zhiquan, head of the Guangdong Department of Finance, does not accept this analysis. The Opinions on Strengthening Provincially-Administered University Debt Management jointly published by various provincial departments in 2012 staunchly supports the “loan taker is loan payer” principle. Previous to this, the government had already given a lump sum of more than 150 million RMB to the University City, the Guangzhou Higher Education Mega Center, and has in recent years successively given sums of 20 and 30 million for school development. “We must speed up the development of universities, but we have to do it in a reasonable way, bring out the full potential of schools, and get good results from our investments.”

An official from the Guangdong Department of Education told reporters that they will continue to strengthen and increase the allocation of funds per student, as well as distribute them fairly among schools.



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2012 Events in Study Abroad (part 2)

January 11, 2013

September: Online Study Abroad Agencies Attracting Customers With Low Prices are Unreliable Pay agents just 600 RMB and get an offer from a school, and you don’t even have to pay until you’ve received the offer! Does that grab your attention? Since September, an account on Sina Weibo’s study abroad-related groups going by the name […]

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