Log in
E-mail
Password
Remember
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
New member
Sign up for FREE
New customer
Discover our services
Settings
Settings
Dynamic quotes 
OFFON
News: Latest News
Latest NewsCompaniesMarketsEconomy & ForexCommoditiesInterest RatesBusiness LeadersFinance Pro.CalendarSectors 
All NewsEconomyCurrencies & ForexEconomic EventsCryptocurrenciesCybersecurityPress Releases

China to unveil tough new rules for private tutoring sector-sources

06/16/2021 | 08:27pm EDT
FILE PHOTO: Children leave a school in the Shekou area of Shenzhen

* Crackdown to include trial ban on vacation tutoring

* New rules to be announced as early as next week

* Private tutoring industry worth around $120 bln

* Advertising to be reined in and tuition fees controlled

HONG KONG, June 16 (Reuters) - China is poised to unveil a much tougher than anticipated crackdown on the country's $120 billion private tutoring industry, four sources told Reuters, including trial bans on vacation tutoring and restrictions on advertising.

The new rules, which aim both to ease pressure on school children and boost the country's birth rate by lowering family living costs, could be announced as early as next week and take effect next month, two of the people with knowledge of the plans said.

The imposition of a trial ban on both online and offline tutoring over the summer and winter holidays in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities, cited by the sources, goes much further than the planned measures first reported by Reuters last month.

"The new rules would be stricter than expected," said one of the sources, a person close to regulators drafting the new rules. "The industry should be preparing for the worst."

The trial vacation ban, which adds to plans to bar online and offline tutoring on weekends during term time, could deprive tutoring companies of as much as 70-80% of their annual revenue, two of the sources said.

The changes being drafted by the Ministry of Education and other authorities target the cutthroat tutoring market for school students from kindergarten through to the 12th grade, or K-12 pupils, an industry that has grown rapidly in recent years.

More than 75% of K-12 students - roughly aged from 6 to 18 - in China attended after-school tutoring classes in 2016, according to the most recent figures from the Chinese Society of Education, and anecdotal evidence suggests that percentage has risen.

The planned industry crackdown, which Reuters last month reported had already forced at least one major company providing tutoring services to put a billion-dollar fundraising round on ice, is being driven from the top, said three of the sources.

President Xi Jinping last week said schools should be responsible for student learning, rather than tutoring companies.

"The education departments are correcting this phenomenon," Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.

The State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Education did not respond to requests for comment.

The ban on vacation and weekend tutoring would be implemented in nine municipalities and provinces, including Beijing, Shanghai and Jiangsu, for twelve months before being rolled out across the country, one of the sources said.

"While the rules are to be adopted on a trial basis, you would be surprised if other areas don't follow the lead and even launch tougher regulations to be politically correct," the source said.

Weekday tutoring, which currently runs until 8-9pm, would be restricted in the trial areas, two of the sources said.

"Excessive" online and offline advertising, in particular in the mainstream media and public places, will be banned, said two of the sources, adding that tuition fees would be tightly controlled.

All four sources declined to be named as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

New York-listed shares of Chinese private tutoring companies TAL Education Group, New Oriental Education & Technology Group and Gaotu Techedu Inc closed down 12.3%, 17% and 12.5% respectively on Wednesday.

'CHICKEN BABY'

As incomes rise in China, well-off families are eager to see children succeed in an increasingly competitive society.

Competition is so fierce it has given rise to a popular term in parenting circles. Jiwa, or "chicken baby," refers to anxious parents pumping energy boosting "chicken blood" into their children by loading them up with extracurricular classes.

As well as protecting stressed students, Beijing sees the changes as a financial incentive for couples to have more children as it seeks to shore up a rapidly declining birth rate, the sources said.

The cost of raising a child in urban China, with education accounting for a big chunk of that, has deterred many would-be parents.

The cost for an ordinary family to raise a child surged from the 490,000 yuan ($76,600) cited in a 2005 state think-tank report to nearly 2 million yuan last year, according to local media.

China's population grew over the 10 years to 2020 at the slowest pace in decades, the country's latest census showed last month, raising fears its dwindling workforce will be unable to support an increasingly elderly population. ($1 = 6.3969 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Julie Zhu; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Jane Wardell)


ę Reuters 2021
Latest news "Economy & Forex"
02:33pShell to buy Inspire Energy in green energy push
RE
02:27pTexas power grid passes test, more to come as heat wave lingers
RE
02:20pU.S. House panel holds hearing on pandemic evictions by corporate landlords
RE
02:17pU.s. airlines file emergency petition with federal energy regulatory commission, saying action needed "to prevent jet fuel shortages" at reno-tahoe airport -- filing
RE
02:09pCanadian miner Teck's profit disappoints, input costs rise
RE
02:08pCanadian union members strike against Bombardier, De Havilland
RE
02:01pRio Tinto faces FCA probe into $6.75 billion Mongolian mine - FT
RE
02:00pDistributors 'saw everything' as opioid crisis raged, W. Va. county tells court
RE
01:57pProsus faces investor criticism over $144 million fee for Naspers share swap
RE
01:53pAnt-backed Hello Inc says goodbye to U.S. IPO plans
RE
Latest news "Economy & Forex"