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Bigger role in store for private schools
By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-06 01:57

Private schools are not keeping pace with Guangzhou's booming economy.

While praising their contribution to education, Guangzhou Mayor Zhang Guangning, said those schools need more professional educators and transparent enrollment procedures.

Non-governmental education has played an important role in the development of the education system over the last two decades, said Zhang Monday at the Non-governmental Education Development Seminar.

More than that, those schools have become an important complement to government-run schools.

The aim of the seminar was to establish a bridge between non-governmental schools and the local government to enhance the city's overall education development.

Non-governmental education was launched in 1979.

Today, the city has 1,437 non-governmental schools with 720,000 students.

"Non-governmental schools and facilities have enabled more people to realize their dreams of going to school," said Li Zhuobing, the city's vice-mayor.

Still, educational development is not keeping up with economic development and improvement is needed for non-governmental educational institutions to better serve the public.

A number of those schools still face a shortage of professional teachers and managers.

In addition, since there is no approved standard for school fees, murky enrollment procedures can sometimes run rampant, Li said.

Li called on all non-governmental schools to better standardize their operation to enhance the city's overall educational development.

Some argued that the enrollment system at government-run universities, launched last year in Guangdong Province, has halted the development of non-governmental education because, under the system, government-run universities were allowed to enrol students directly from society besides from regular senior high schools. In this way, the universities could raise more money.

The Ministry of Education last month informed government-run universities based in Guangdong Province to stop enrolling students this way as of September, said Zhang Tailing, vice-director of the Guangdong Provincial Education Bureau.

Since the system kicked off last year, a great number of people have entered the universities, for instance, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies has enrolled 1,037 students.

"The system, on the one hand, established new channels for more people to have chances to study in the university, but on the other hand, it halted the development of non-governmental education since more students would choose studying in the government-run university," said an unnamed education expert at the seminar.

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