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'Special-ability' class ordered shut

By Xu Chi (Shanghai Daily)

08:11, August 31, 2012

AN illegal "special-ability" class that charged high tuition for teaching children how to read with their ears has been shut down after some angry parents alerted police, local officials revealed yesterday.

According to an investigation report by the Minhang District Education Bureau, the class was illegally held in a local hotel by an education training company without the bureau's permit.

The organizers illegally charged high tuition reaching over 100,000 yuan (US$15,746) for a 10-day course without consulting the local price bureau, the report said.

Authorities have ordered the company to immediately stop the class. The report was issued after some parents told police last Saturday that they had been cheated as the special class, which claimed it would embellish their children with òsuper powersó, had instead taught them how to cheat.

The tall claims of the training class, to be held at a hotel in Qingpu District starting in mid-August and ending last Saturday, convinced parents of 30 children, aged between seven and 17, to enroll.

The teachers boasted that the children would learn to read with their eyes closed and tell the pattern and number of a poker card by just touching the back of the card, but the parents found that their children were only learning tricks.

A young girl whose eyes were covered by a cloth could tell the pattern of a poker card not by some òspecial brain wavesó developed in the class, but actually by seeing through a small gap, her father found out.

Qingpu District police told Shanghai Daily that they are still looking into the case to check whether it amounted to cheating money from parents.

A police officer revealed that so far they had only received complaints from four parents, while some parents spoke highly about the class during their preliminary investigation.

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