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Parents vie to buy children's way into schools

Updated: 2013-05-18 07:56
By Bai Ping ( China Daily)

Recently, one of my colleagues told me that she had declined the offer to get her six-year-old son admitted to a top primary school in Beijing because she didn't want to donate the suggested sum of money in return. Instead, she has decided to send her son to a second-tier school from this September.

I simply looked at her in disbelief. As far as I know, most people who want their children to go to a prestigious school have to make some sort of contribution to the school. Since demand is far greater than vacancies, parents joke that the real problem is not about having enough money to donate but finding a school principal willing to accept the "school-choosing fee", as it is commonly known.

But my colleague said that the school had demanded half a million yuan ($81,000) to be given in the form of equipment. "My husband and I didn't think it was worth that much, maybe 150,000 yuan would be more acceptable to us," she said, trying to put on a brave face.

Parents vie to buy children's way into schools