Falling RMB Value Prompts School to Hike Tuition in Shenzhen

By Bryan Grogan, October 12, 2018

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Parents at Dandi Experimental School in Longhua District have raised opposition to management after the school asked each student to pay an extra RMB1,000 in order to cover a tuition fee increase for Sino-Canadian afterschool classes. 

The increase covers a RMB53,159 rise in tuition fees for the year (roughly CAD10,000), a fee that parents across grades seven, eight and nine have been asked to shoulder, bringing their annual fees for afterschool programs up to around RMB8,000. 

The rise in fees has been brought about by depreciating renminbi value and added hours for afterschool classes. 

According to Sohu, tuition fees at the school cover wages, rent, insurance, water charges, electricity charges, management fees, food and subsidies. Dandi Experimental School is split into primary and middle schools, with one foreign teacher taking all classes of the middle school grades seven, eight and nine. 

Screenshots of the Chinese teacher's conversation with parents show that the total tuition fees for Sino-Canadian classes for grades seven, eight and nine will be RMB584,749 this year.

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Screengrab via 深圳人说深圳事/Weibo

The screengrab above is of a conversation between the teacher and eighth-grade parents. They are required to cover 37.5 percent of the tuition bill. That brings the class's total tuition expenses for the year to RMB219,281. In addition, they are required to cover RMB40,000 living expenses for said foreign teacher which, according to screenshots of the teacher's conversation in the WeChat group, brings their yearly bill to around RMB7,848 for the Sino-Canadian program. 

The teacher went on to offer two alternatives for parents to consider: 1) increase the number of students in the class, or 2) opt out of the Sino-Canadian class altogether.  

According to the District Bureau of Education, parents had already enrolled their children in the class before the news of the price increase. The bureau also said that because the class size decreased from 35 to 33 students this year, the price each student has to pay has increased. 

The news went viral on Weibo, where people have been critical of the school's rationale. "When the exchange rate gets better, is it necessary to refund the money and return it to each student?!" one Weibo user commented.

Others questioned the parent's reaction, with one such netizen saying "Are experimental schools not all specialized schools for rich children?"

[Cover image via China Business News]

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