Government official’s speech invited strong responses from netizens – Nanfang Network

From Nangfang Network (in Chinese), translated by CDT:

According to a report from Xinhua News Agency on Mar. 6, 2006, Wang Xuming, spokesman for the Ministry of Education, responded to complaints about “high cost education” from delegates of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and China People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC):

“The public should change their views on tuition. During the era of the planned economy, the money children had to pay from elementary school through college was small because the government paid for everything, , but now that we are the era of the market economy, everything has changed. Non-compulsory education has become a type of family consumption. Since it’s is a form of consumption, families should choose it based on their wealth and intelligence. High quality educational resources, like Peking University and Tsinghua University, are limited; naturally, they are expensive and not for everyone. This is just like shopping. If you are rich, you can afford a 10,000-yuan coat, but if you are poor, you can only buy a 100-yuan coat from a corner store. Nowadays too many people are sending their kids to high quality schools no matter what their economic condition. It is irrational. It also contributes significantly to the rise in educational fees, and is one of the most important originas of the the ‘high cost education‘ view.”

Wang’s speech invited strong responses from Chinese netizens.

One netizen Nan Hai had this to say: “High quality educational resources such as Peking University and Tsinghua University are undoubtedly limited, but in the end they belong to all citizens of the Peoples Republic of China. The “expensive” should not reside in money, it should reside in intelligence”these schools should be open to all of the country’s most talented students. No matter how wealthy you are, you cannot qualify to attend high quality schools if you are not intelligent. In other words, the famous universities should always open their doors to students as long as they are talented, and regardless of how poor they are. This is what the spokesman should have said.”

……

Netizen lsm37: “This is what the Chinese Education spokesman said to the Chinese people? This the government’s reply to our concerns about education? I demand an apology from the Ministry of Education.”

Netizen Tiantian: “Education is not an industry, it’s an “undertaking” closely related to the future of this nation; education is not something the masses “consume,” it is the responsibility of the government; education is not a luxury for the rich, it’s the basic right of every citizen. What the spokesman said is incredibly dangerous. It is not dangerous simply by virtue of having been said but because ridiculous inequality in education has already become a policy of the government.”

Netizen Bailang: “The poor will never have an opportunity to get a good education? Will never be able to change their lives? It is astonishing that the spokesman’s fawning on the rich is so servile and his vulgarity so evident.”

Netizen “Hamonious” (He Xie): “It is ridiculous to liken education to shopping! Does the government invest in the making of the clothes? Of course not! It’s reasonable for the price of clothes to reflect their value. But education is different, because of the government’s heavy investment. It’s immensely unreasonable to pass on the entire burden of education to students (parents actually).”

Netizen “Break-words” (Chu Er Fan Er): “Hasn’t the Ministry of Education has announced its opposition to ‘the industrialization of education’? Then where does this ‘educational consumption’ come from? Let the rich buy the 10,000-yuan coat, let the poor buy the 100-yuan coat. Why does the governmental official, who is supposed to work for the benefit of the public, talk just like a vendor? ”

March 16, 2006 5:16 PM
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