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Ministry cracks down on school tech demands

By Zou Shuo | | Updated: 2022-09-15 18:48
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Pupils read books after school at a primary school in Baoji, Northwest China's Shaanxi province, March 22, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The national office for regulating misconduct in charging educational fees has tasked six provincial regions with looking into schools that have asked students to purchase tablets and education software to get into better classes, according to a news release from the Ministry of Education on Thursday.

The State Council accountability inspection teams recently found that some schools have asked students to "voluntarily" buy tablets and software to get into "smart classes" or "future classes".

Certain schools have even promoted software. The moves added a financial burden to families, harmed education equality and created public outcry, the release said.

The office has asked the regions to hold schools and individuals accountable and conduct immediate investigations to find other potential violators.

Other provincial regions should learn from the incidents and strictly regulate digital resources entering campuses.

Schools should not be permitted to divide students into different classes based on whether they have purchased tablets or education apps, and any used for teaching or management purposes should be issued free of charge, the release added.

Authorities in Pu'er in Yunnan province have ordered one middle school to return fees charged to students for buying tablets to get into better classes.

The Number 4 Middle School had divided students into "smart" and "regular" classes based on whether or not they had purchased tablets and other equipment from the school for 5,800 yuan ($830).

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