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January 19, 2012

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International school facing a forced move

LOCAL education authorities announced yesterday they will no longer lease land and facilities to a troubled international school after their contract ends in a year, a development that has left many expat families deeply concerned about their children's future studies.

Some parents complained to Shanghai Daily that they have not been informed by the school authorities of the relocation problems facing the Shanghai Rego International School, where hundreds of expat students study in Minhang District.

There are other problems at the school. According to, the school admitted during a parent-teacher meeting last week that "their teachers do not hold legal work visas" but "are working on tourist visas that will expire on Friday."

Meanwhile, some teachers also raised concerns at the meeting last week by saying that "Rego's primary school isn't properly registered," according to the Cityweekend website.

In response to the doubts, Shanghai Education Commission officials told Shanghai Daily that they have suspended registrations at the school for the past two years due to "various problems" that they declined to detail. But the officials said the school will not be required to be closed in the short term.

A marketing official surnamed Lin with the school said school authorities will publish an announcement on the school's official website tomorrow, when the teachers' tourist visas expire.

It is not known whether the teachers have since received work visas or are still illegally working with tourist visas, as senior school officials could not be reached yesterday.

A mother of a student who refused to be named told Shanghai Daily that she was quite troubled by the school's instability and claimed that she was not getting any information from school authorities. She said school officials once told parents that the current issue was probably caused by a delay from the government while it was inspecting the safety of school facilities.

However an official surnamed Hua with the district's Education Bureau said there were no safety issues but said the school probably will have to relocate because the bureau has decided not to lease land and facilities to it anymore.

Hua said the bureau signed a 10-year contract with the school in 2003 for its renting of the facilities, which will expire in January 2013. He said the facilities were built at that time to be a public school, but the area was not sufficiently populated to need such a school. The bureau instead leased the facility to the international school.

"But now a growing number of local residents living in the area are having trouble finding a school for their children, so we have decided that the facilities will be taken back when the contract ends and will be used as a public school," said Hua.

He said the decision was made and announced with no possible alternatives, and the Shanghai Education Commission is now talking with the school over relocation issues.

Affected parents or teachers may write e-mails to to tell their experience.


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