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China to Give Equal Rights to Private, Public Schools


Non-governmental educational institutions will enjoy equal rights with schools funded by the government, according to a draft law on the promotion of non-public schools tabled with legislators in Beijing Monday.

Wang Jialiu, vice-chairperson of the Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee under the National People's Congress (NPC), tabled a report on the draft law for the first hearing.

She said that, under the draft law, non-governmental educational institutions will enjoy the same preferential policiesin taxation, financial loans, land purchase and school renovations as public schools.

The draft law stipulates that teachers and students of non-governmental educational institutions will also enjoy the same legal status, rights and treatment as their counterparts in government-funded schools.

The draft law allows the owners of the non-governmental schools to make a "reasonable profit."

"Statutory stipulations in this regard will, on the one hand, encourage individuals to devote their efforts to the educational cause and on the other hand, prevent owners of non-governmental schools from making exorbitant profits," said Wang.

"Education is more of a public interest business than just a business," she added.

In terms of the property rights, the draft law states that assets invested in by the owners of the non-governmental schools belong to the owners. Donations belong to the schools and added value, after deducting a reasonable return to the owners, belong to the schools and assets provided by the government belong to the government.

Non-governmental educational institutions will be given a high level of autonomy in asset management, tuition, administration, course selection, and students evaluation, the draft law says.

The draft also covers other issues of common concern, including the changing of the owner, financial management, and the closing of schools.

Wang emphasized that non-governmental educational institutions should strictly abide by all the other legal documents on education, including the education law, compulsory education law, teachers' law, law on professional education and the law on higher education.

Statistics show that by 2000, there were more than 60,000 non-governmental educational institutions in China, including 44,000 kindergartens, 4,300 primary schools, 7,316 ordinary high schools,999 vocational high schools

In 2001, there were 89 institutions of higher learning which are able to issue diplomas, while 1,280 higher educational institutions do not have the right to offer diplomas. In addition, there were 15,000 professional training organizations.

"Private education has become an indispensable part of the national educational system, but the numbers are still very small," said Wang.

She added that the passing of the draft law will protect the legal rights of the owners, teachers and students of non-governmental schools and bolster the healthy development of non-governmental education.

(People's Daily June 25, 2002)

In This Series

Privately-owned Schools Need Support

China to Draft Law on Private Schools

Private Schools Mushrooming in Tianjin

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