PRIVATE schools, excluding international schools, around the city can no longer organize admission exams to enroll Grade 1 and 7 students for the new school year commencing in September, Shenzhen's education bureau said yesterday.
The education bureau released an official guiding document for all public and private schools in Shenzhen on the work of enrolling new students for compulsory education Tuesday. Multiple measures are to be taken to regulate schools to enroll students meeting requirements to provide equal educational resources.
One of the highlights of the document is that all private schools, starting from this year, will initiate their admissions process at the same time and on the same online platform provided by each district's education bureau as the public schools.
Private schools can no longer organize admission exams before the unified application date, so as to prevent some schools from choosing students with better grades and higher potential to achieve great academic results in order to raise the schools' reputation.
Also, private schools must file their admissions plans to the authority for record-keeping purposes and are banned from taking applicants' resumes, certificates for various awards or recommendations from other schools or training agencies, according to the document.
However, since the authority is also trying to encourage more social forces to be involved in building schools, private schools will be able to hold face-to-face interviews with candidates who submit application forms through the unified online platform. The interviews must be videotaped, according to the document.
"The guideline released by the Shenzhen Municipal Education Bureau is an answer to the country and province's requirement to provide all students with equal opportunities for education and to curb the selecting of top students by some schools," said Yao Yiqin, head of the bureau's elementary education section.
In Shenzhen, school-age children and Grade 6 students with Shenzhen household registration, also known as hukou, can apply for placement at public schools based on their homes' proximity to the schools.
However, children without Shenzhen hukou, mostly offspring of migrant workers from other cities and provinces, must attend private schools. While their counterparts with Shenzhen hukou will enjoy free schooling, students of migrant workers need to pay fees.
To assist families whose children are studying at private schools, the city's education bureau provides a subsidy. Students, with or without Shenzhen hukou, attending private primary schools get 7,000 yuan (US$1,1110) per year, and students at junior middle schools receive 9,000 yuan per year.
According to Yao, there are approximately 180,000 eligible students applying for Grade 1 slots in the coming school year. After years of expanding and opening schools, Yao said the city is capable of providing enough school slots.