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City to improve international curriculum

By Zhang Kun in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2016-10-27 08:12

All schools at the compulsory educational level have to teach content regulated by the State

Shanghai will improve its supervision of the international curriculum in private schools, but this will not affect international schools for expatriate students, authorities said.

Shanghai Municipal Educational Commission held a conference last week on the administration of private schools, highlighting problems such as enrolling Chinese students in international departments; teaching Chinese students the international curriculum; and weakening foundation courses, such as Chinese or ideological and moral lessons.

According to the educational commission, there are four kinds of schools in Shanghai, public schools, private schools, Sino-foreign cooperative schools, and schools for expatriate students only.

The commission emphasized that policies for international schools that recruit expatriate students remain unchanged. "Overseas students can apply for expat schools, as well as public and private schools," it said.

Private schools in the city have to follow municipal regulations in their operation and recruitment processes. Schools can provide consultancy for recruitment, but any advanced form of recruitment is prohibited.

Some private schools used to start recruiting through promotional campaigns, such as winter camps and school visits, as early as February. In May, when public schools begin recruiting, outstanding students tend to have already made their decision about which school they will attend.

In China, foreign institutions can make applications and work with local educational facilities to open kindergartens and senior middle schools, but they are not allowed to establish primary and junior middle schools, according to the educational commission.

According to China's Law on Compulsory Education, the school curriculum is and can only be decided by the educational administration under the State Council. All textbooks at the compulsory educational level have to be examined and approved by the educational administration.

All schools at the compulsory educational level have to teach the curriculum regulated by the State, cover the basic content of the national curriculum and meet the requirements of the national curriculum, Xinmin Evening News quoted an unnamed source within the education industry as saying.

The dominant role of the national curriculum should not be challenged, the source said. "No content or opinions against the dominant ideology should be tolerated in the educational process."

If bilingual courses are given, the content has to be a combination of Chinese and Western culture, examined and approved by educational administrations.

It costs nearly 50,000 yuan ($7,400) a year to study at the Chinese department of Shande Experimental School, a private institution, said Karen Zhang, mother of a 13-year-old student. The cost of studying at the school's international department is double, she said. Zhang has chosen to enroll her son in the private school, because "good public schools can't be found near my neighborhood."

A survey released by China Education Online showed that in November last year more than 34,000 Chinese under the age of 18 were studying in the United States - more than half of China's overseas student population - and the number is growing.

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