Schools overcharged 1.7b yuan in past 5 years

Updated: 2007-05-17 22:17

A massive 1.7 billion yuan (US$217 million ) of unwarranted school fees have been charged to unlucky parents since 2002, the top corruption watchdog said here on Thursday.

But the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) claimed that 1.6 billion yuan had been returned to the victims.

The educational sector has generated a lot of public complaints in recent years because of inflated school fees.

To clean up the sector from the ground up, the government has modified or abolished a batch of official documents which ran contrary to central government policies.

The move saved the public 1.9 billion yuan in 2003, according to the CCDI.

The Ministry of Education has promised to work out a fair and transparent fee system this year to prevent schools from overcharging.

And the ministry sent a special team to nine provinces to supervise how education funds were used earlier this year.

Aiming to right damage to the public interest caused by officials' negligent behavior, Chinese discipline watchdogs and prosecutors dealt with more than 750,000 cases of this kind, with more than 60,000 people being punished since the CPC's 16th National Congress in 2002, the CCDI said.

Sectors under particular scrutiny include the public health and education, which have been plagued by corruption in recent years.

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