Private Shanghai primary schools sanctioned for testing parents

By Qu Qiuyan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/7 23:53:39

Two private primary schools in Shanghai were sanctioned Sunday by local education authorities after setting "relaxing" IQ tests for potential students' parents during enrollment.

Shanghai Education Committee posted a notice on Sunday afternoon on Sina Weibo saying that it was acting to "safeguard education equity," and will cut the enrollment quota for the two private schools, Yangpu Primary School and Qingpu World Foreign Language Primary School.

It ordered the schools to cease giving parents tests as it infringed on students' education rights, and said that those in charge of the schools would be held responsible and should make an open apology.

Other private schools should learn a lesson from this case, the committee said. It did not say by how much the quota would be cut. 

The two schools, in Shanghai's Yangpu and Qingpu districts, set a test for parents at the same time as their offspring were sitting their entrance examination on Saturday. 

Parents, who posted the tests online afterward, said they involved a tricky IQ test and detailed questions about family background.

One of the test papers set by Shanghai Yangpu Primary School presented a series of graphics-based reasoning. The questions on the paper were obviously difficult and most of the parents complained on social media that they did not have a clue. The other school required a questionnaire involving detailed information about children's grandparents.

"It's understandable to have these tests. Just like some schools in other countries require parents to be Christian. I think the requirements from these private schools are reasonable," a mother in Shanghai, whose daughter is applying for one of the two primary schools, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

However, not everyone was on board. "What's the use of these primary schools if they select students, even parents?" a professor from Shanghai Ocean University told the Global Times. 

Yangpu Primary School claimed on its WeChat account on Saturday that the tests and questionnaires for parents were not linked to children's admission results and it was just for "parents to get relaxed."

Private primary students make up 6.1 percent of the 160,000 students who are enrolled in Shanghai, the Xinhua News Agency reported in January.

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