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September 25, 2012

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Parents seek redress as center shuts its doors

THE sudden bankruptcy of Smart Kids, an English training center for preschool children, has become the latest education facility scandal to leave hundreds of parents in the lurch.

Angry parents holding banners have protested at Super Brand Mall, where the school rented classrooms, every weekend since the start of this month. They are seeking compensation after pre-paying for up to a year's worth of classes.

"We will keep protesting if our loss is not compensated," said one protester, Chen Zhenhua.

Chen had paid 14,000 yuan (US$2,219) for her daughter to attend a one-year course at the training center. The course started in May but was suspended for the summer and the company told her classes would resume after the two-month holiday.

But she said the center remained closed when the new semester started this month.

A notice was posted on the center's exterior wall, saying the company's stockholders had decided to close the company.

Other parents had paid for courses worth thousands of yuan for their children, most of whom had only attended a handful of classes. The parents reported to police, commercial and industrial authorities, as well as the management at Super Brand Mall.

According to police, Smart Kids went bankrupt due to poor operation and also had a rent dispute with Super Brand Mall.

Police suggested parents file lawsuits over the case.

"We are angry at Super Brand Mall because they didn't warn us of the risk earlier," Chen said. "The mall knew of the financial condition of the center as it had owed several months of rent."

Similar training institutes such as Baby Plan and Dinosaur Creativity also closed down.


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