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Tutoring-Services Provider Punished for Rule Violations

By Chen Shaoyuan, Cai Jiaxin and Li Rongde
Xueersi, one of China’s leading private tutoring companies, has been ordered to suspend recruitment and testing at nine schools in Chengdu in the wake of government inspections. Photo: Visual China
Xueersi, one of China’s leading private tutoring companies, has been ordered to suspend recruitment and testing at nine schools in Chengdu in the wake of government inspections. Photo: Visual China

(Beijing) — One of China’s top private tutoring companies has been ordered by two city-district governments in Sichuan province to suspend recruitment and testing at a combined nine schools while the company corrects problems discovered during inspections.

The affected schools, all in the provincial capital of Chengdu, are run by Xueersi, which is owned by the U.S.-listed TAL Education Group.

Three schools in the Jinniu district were found to be offering tuition for competitions, exams and activities without official approval, the district government said in a statement. Authorities acted after receiving tips from the public, the district said.

Meanwhile, Zhang Zhihong — an education official with the Chenghua district government — told the West China Metropolis Daily that six Xueersi schools in that district were found to have recruited students without going through the proper registration procedures.

Xueersi operates 422 “learning centers” that offer tutoring classes for students in grades one through 12 in more than two dozen major Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. The company did not respond to requests for comment from Caixin, but in a statement issued on Sunday, Xueersi apologized to parents and students for the disruption and said it will make the government-ordered changes.

After-class private tutoring for elementary and high school students is booming in China as parents fight to improve their children’s chances of getting into an elite public school or winning high-profile competitions. But many parents complain about the time and money they are forced to spend on such classes.

Educators have long called for the government to crack down on elite public schools that use events such as the nationwide annual Hua Luo Geng Golden Cup Math Invitational Contest as a selection tool in student recruitment. They also say the proliferation of costly private tutoring does nothing to resolve the underlying problem of the widening gap in education quality and standards among public schools in China.

Contact reporter Li Rongde (rongdeli@caixin.com)

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