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Parents protest school policy

By Deng Jingyin (Global Times)

08:20, May 25, 2012

Nearly 50 parents protested outside the Tongzhou district education bureau, asking for equal rights for their children to attend a public school.

The parents, whose children do not have a Beijing hukou or resident's permit, submitted an application to the bureau early this week and were informed they would receive the final decision yesterday. The parents stood outside the bureau with a banner saying "firmly requesting equal rights for students' access to free compulsory education." However, their request was turned down.

"We're really disappointed with their decision. We were told that it is impossible for the bureau to allocate a school place to our children this year," a woman surnamed Xu, who has a 13-year-old son, said yesterday.

According to Beijing's education enrolment policy amended in 2010, primary and secondary school students without a Beijing hukou have the same education rights as Beijing residents.

However, Changping and Tongzhou districts are exempt from the policy, so parents still have to contact primary or high schools themselves and reportedly pay tens of thousands of yuan in "sponsorship" fees to enroll their children, parents claimed.

Responding to the parents' protest, Tongzhou education bureau said that the number of school-age children from outside Beijing eligible for free education in the district had now surpassed that of students with a Beijing hukou, and the bureau has had to take measures to ensure students with a Beijing hukou were equally protected.

"The first step is for parents to choose a school and then ask if there is a vacancy. If they fail to find a school, parents who have the required five permits can come here to register, and we will help those students enroll in a school we choose for him," the director of the administration office, surnamed Jia, told the Global Times yesterday.

A child is eligible to study in the capital for free as long as the parents have five certificates, including a temporary residence permit, employment certificate and a certificate proving the child does not have a guardian in the hometown.

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