China / Society

3,000 students force school to cut canteen prices

By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou ( Updated: 2014-11-06 19:05

School in Guangzhou's suburban Renhe township in Baiyun district has been forced to reduce the price of its canteen food after a strong protest by more than 3,000 students earlier this week.

"The school canteen has accepted the advice from the students as the suggestions were reasonable," said a teacher from Guangdong Economic and Trade Vocational School on Thursday.

"And now the school has returned to normal operation after the protest came to an end on Wednesday," said the teacher who did not want to be named.

The demonstration broke out when 3,000 students smashed the school canteen and a nearby store to protest against the price hike and poor quality of the canteen's food at about 10 pm on Tuesday.

Local media reported that the school headmaster was also besieged and attacked by the protestors.

"A large number of police officers were immediately sent to the campus to help handle the case and ensure order after the school sought help," the teacher told China Daily.

"No student or teacher has been detained and no injury has been reported so far," said the teacher.

"The school has no plan to punish the students who participated in the protest," he added.

Guangzhou Baiyun District Branch of Public Security refused to comment on the case while police are still investigating the case.

"The protest was actually organized by a handle of the students who had been expelled by the school for serious violation of the school's regulations and rules," the teacher said.

A student denied that they had attacked the headmaster.

"We just surrounded him to question why the canteen's food was more expensive than the one selling outside the campus and the quality of the food," said the student who only revealed his surname Zhang.

"And the school canteen sells fake beverages and such products, and the prices are usually higher those outside the campus," Zhang told China Daily.

Meanwhile the canteen staff collected the cuisine fees arbitrarily, he added.

"It is normal that one student will pay only 3 yuan for a dish while the other will be asked to pay 4 yuan by the canteen staff," he said.

"The school has a self-enclosed management system, which means the students have to ask for leave and walk for more than six minutes outside the campus to look for a restaurant when they want to eat out," according to Zhang.

Wu Shenda, an associate professor at the Guangdong Civil Affairs School, said it was a matter of management.

"The school should try to improve the management of the canteen even if it has been contracted by others," Wu told China Daily on Thursday.

"The management and the clinic staff of the school should conduct surprise special inspections to the canteen to see whether the prices are reasonable or not, or whether the quality of food meets the requirements or not," he said. But more importantly, the school should let its students decide whether they want to eat in the canteen or not, he added.

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