Shanghai will begin an appraisal of educational programs jointly run by Chinese and foreign schools from this year to rule out unqualified foreign institutes and curb illegal fees, officials with the Shanghai Education Commission revealed yesterday.
The information came as the second annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Quality Network ended in the city yesterday. More than 100 educational experts from 21 countries and regions attended the two-day meet.
The assessment, to be conducted by the non-governmental Shanghai Educational Evaluation Institute, will cover the admission process, curriculum setting, faculty qualification, course certificates as well as tuition fees of joint programs.
Schools that fail to pass the assessment would be ordered to make improvement within three months. Otherwise they will be disqualified and ordered to shut down, officials said.
"Joint education programs are an important impetus to boost Shanghai's education transparency, but we must strengthen government supervision to ensure schools coming in are really first rate," said Cai Shengze, deputy director of the commission's international exchange division.
For instance, local schools with a college education license are banned from offering bachelor-degree programs, even if their foreign partners have such license abroad.
Schools are required to ensure at least one-third of their major curriculums are designed by the foreign partner. Courses given by foreign faculty should also account for 25 percent or above of the total course volume.
Besides, joint programs' tuition fees shouldn't exceed that of local public schools at the same level.
Since fees at ordinary local universities range from 5,000 yuan (US$617) to 10,000 yuan, joint programs shouldn't ask for 30,000 yuan or such amount, officials said.
The city has more than 230 joint educational programs currently, nearly 60 percent of which are degree courses. Many joint programs have more than 1,000 students.
A rough inspection last year found about 41 joint programs failed to meet the city's education standards. But the final blacklist hasn't been released yet, the commission said.
(Shanghai Daily March 4, 2006)