The Crooked Cost of a Chinese Education

Dan Levin of The New York Times details the culture of corruption that has grown rife in China’s education system, where parents oftentimes must bribe school officials to secure enrollment in and success for their children at the best schools in the country: Nearly everything has a price, parents and educators say, from school admissions and placement in top classes to leadership positions in Communist youth groups. Even front-row seats near the blackboard or a post as class monitor are up for sale. Zhao Hua, a migrant from Hebei Province who owns a small electronics business here, said she was forced to deposit $4,800 into a bank account to enroll her daughter in a Beijing elementary school. At the bank, she said, she was stunned to encounter officials from the district education committee armed with a list of students and how much each family had to pay. Later, school officials made her sign a document saying the fee was a voluntary “donation.” “Of course I knew it was illegal,” she said. “But if you don’t pay, your child will go nowhere.” ...
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