State Cracks Down on Extra School Fees

Price supervisors have cracked down on random school levies on students this year, sources with the State Development Planning Commission said Friday.

With the assistance of local price supervision bodies, the commission has paid close attention to education fees and charges across the nation, said Zhao Xiaoping, director of the Price Supervision Department of the commission.

In the first half of this year, the commission filed more than 230 price complaints, including 39 cases related to education fees and charges, Zhao said.

Inconsistent fees have become a serious problem in recent years, officials with the commission said. In China, primary and junior middle schools are not legally allowed to collect fees because they provide compulsory education programs.

Yet some profit-minded schools have charged students for extra-curricular activities, additional study materials, campus safety, sanitation management and for other services.

The Gongyuanlu Primary School in Donghe District of Baotou in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, for example, charged 106 students of 8,000 yuan (US$964) each in 2000 for school construction projects, which violated related regulations, officials said.

Cases of overcharging students are said to be particularly rife in big cities.

To keep an eye on school levies, a supervision hotline for education fees has been set up. People can call 12358 to report offenders.

The commission said it would continue to conduct regular checks on primary and middle schools throughout the year.

( People’s Daily 07/28/2001)

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