Primary school pupils without a permanent residence permit outnumbered Shanghai natives in public schools for the first time this year, officials with the Shanghai Education Commission said yesterday.
The number of non-local students -- including foreigners, migrants, and returned overseas Chinese -- reached 95,100 this year.
That was 50.6 percent of the total in primary and middle schools, officials said.
"The city will try its best to open its schools to non-local students and entitle them to the same balanced and high-quality education as their native peers," said Qu Jun, the vice commission director.
Shanghai has a total of 217,000 students entering primary school or middle school this year, of whom 187,800 study at local public schools.
Next fall semester, the number of new students is expected to drop slightly to 210,500, officials said.
Students holding a local permanent residence permit were exempted from all tuition and ancillary fees starting from this year.
Migrant children must pay between 500 yuan (US$62.50) and 1,500 yuan each semester to study at public schools near their homes.
Foreign students have to pay tuition fees of at least 2,100 yuan to 2,600 yuan each semester.
Parents can also choose to send their children to privately owned elementary schools, which charge about 5,500 yuan per semester.
Starting from next year, private schools which don't have boarding facilities will be banned from recruiting students from other districts in the city.
And mentally retarded students who are proved to reach a certain level of ability will be able to study in the same class as their peers, rather than attending special education schools, commission officials said.
(Shanghai Daily December 26, 2006)