Teachers across China are being reported and punished for offering paid catch-up sessions to students, as part of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP (Xi) Jinping’s) ongoing crackdown on the tutoring industry.
In one case, a teacher named Lü in the eastern province of Anhui was “caught by a local education authority after parents exposed him,” according to the CCP-backed Global Times newspaper on July 28.
Lü was arrested outside a “fancy villa” on the outskirts of Huangshan, Anhui, where he was hosting paid tutorial classes for his students.
“The Huangshan education bureau is currently investigating the case, and severe punishment is expected,” the paper said, adding that some high school teachers charge as much as 1,000 yuan (US $153) per session for “catch-up” sessions.
In another case, a math teacher named Yang, who had been recognized by local authorities as a “super-teacher,” was discovered to be charging 120 yuan/hour for extra coaching. He was eventually caught and ordered to repay all tuition fees to parents before being fired from his job.
Former high-school teacher Wang Yu from Guangdong’s southern province said students frequently request such catch-up sessions from teachers, and that both teachers and students should face consequences for breaking the new rules.
“The government prohibits supplementary lessons outside of school because it is assumed that teachers can cover all of the necessary material in class,” Wang explained.
However, students’ abilities vary, and some learn quickly, while others do not, and require supplementary tutoring outside of school, he explained. “This should be a contract between two parties, with each party bearing equal responsibility.”
Wang stated that schools have also charged students who wish to stay after formal class ends at lunchtime in order to complete their homework.
“Some places have been charging five yuan per day if students stay in school for one to two hours after class to do homework,” Wang explained. “I calculated that a school earns about… 1.8 million yuan per year from these afternoon service charges, and that doesn’t include the lunch-break fee [to take a siesta in school before doing homework].”
“[This is now happening] as a result of the ban on after-school tutoring,” Wang explained.
Guo Baosheng, a current affairs commentator, believes the tutoring ban is politically motivated.
“The reasoning behind these new regulations was not justified and was purely political,” Guo said. “It appears that China’s education system has failed to instill any moral values in anyone; instead, it appears to have exacerbated them.”
The Ministry of Education established a new department on June 15 to monitor off-campus education and training provisions and to implement “reforms to the off-campus education and training sector.”
On July 30, the CCP leadership signaled that it would proceed with a crackdown on private tuition schools and other measures aimed at reducing homework and out-of-school educational activities.
The directive prohibited training institutions from providing subject-based tutoring on national statutory holidays, rest days, or winter and summer vacations.
According to the most recent industry figures, more than 75% of students in primary and secondary education attended after-school tutoring in 2016, and the need to hothouse children privately to get them into the best schools was criticized by CCP leader Xi Jinping in March as a barrier to increasing birth rates.
On June 1, the State Administration for Market Regulation announced that it would “rectify” tutoring services run by internet giants Tencent and Alibaba, fining the companies approximately US $5.73 million for regulatory violations.
The moves followed a speech by CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping on March 6, in which he lashed out at “chaos” in the tutoring industry, describing it as “a stubborn disease that is difficult to manage.”