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China bans foreign curricula in some private schools

Children drop out of school in Shekou District, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China, April 20, 2021. REUTERS / David Kirton / File Photo

China’s state council has announced strict new restrictions on school curricula and private school ownership, the latest in a series of measures aimed at tightening control over the country’s fast-growing education sector.

The new law, which takes effect on September 1, suspends the teaching of foreign curricula in schools from kindergarten to ninth grade (K-9) and prohibits the ownership or control of private K-9 schools by foreign entities.

China currently has private K-9 schools that teach local and foreign curricula. Ninth graders in China are usually 15 or 16 years old.

Members of the board of directors or other decision-making body at a private K-9 school must be Chinese nationals and include representatives of regulators, according to the Private Education Promotion Act, published on a government website on Friday.

K-9 schools will no longer be able to organize entrance tests or make appointments in advance. They will also be banned from setting up private schools or converting to private schools.

China is setting strict new rules for its thriving private lesson industry, which aims to both ease the pressure on children at school and increase the country’s birth rate by reducing family living expenses, Reuters reported last week. Read more

The new law is “stricter than expected for schools with compulsory education (K-9 schools), especially with a complete ban on transactions with related countries, and private K9 schools cannot be controlled by agreement,” the US bank Citi said in a research note for customers on sunday.

Citi said it expects much of the K12 players’ revenue and profits to be “challenged” as a result of the new law.

($ 1 = 6.4308 Chinese yuan renminbi

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