Bosses of two private education and training institutions in Beijing absconded in mid-December, abandoning students who had paid training fees ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 but not yet completed their courses, according to reports by the Beijing News.
Such disappearances are the worst kind of situation in the private education and training sector. Due to lack of supervision, the burgeoning market has been a complete mess, with problems such as misleading advertising, illegal operation, confusing pricing, and low teacher quality.
Education and training is a huge market. What comes with it is a lack of supervision. The market size of extracurricular education for primary and middle school students exceeds 800 billion yuan ($122 billion). Some 13.7 million students attend extracurricular classes. However, a lot of institutions which have no qualification to enter this market are already running such classes.
Local education administrators have failed to effectively regulate the market due to shortage of related laws, mixed responsibilities and duties, personnel shortage, and lack of legal enforcement power.
However, local governments should not wait for a top-level design. Instead, they should endeavor to work out innovative supervision measures in accordance with the local characteristics of the market.
To regulate the private education and training market, the authorities need to draw up a refined top-level design. First, legislators must issue laws to clarify the nature, position, and management standards of this market. Second, a classified supervision system, which identifies the responsibilities of different government departments, should be established. Third, the market calls for self-discipline and supervision by an industry association through third-party professional assessment.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in China Youth Daily December 26, 2017)