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July 26, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

False university vows get look

EDUCATION authorities have started to look into illegal exhibitions held in the city where agents are making false promises to students about getting into overseas universities.

International education tours seek to cash in on rising Chinese demand for education in foreign countries. The Shanghai Education Commission has found that some unlicensed firms are organizing exhibitions that promote overseas schools.

"I came across many unauthorized education exhibition advertisements in newspapers," said Zhang Jin, an official with Shanghai Education Commission's international cooperation and exchange division.

So the commission issued a notice last week saying that all education exhibitions that promote studying abroad must first win the approval of the commission.

Moreover, overseas organizations cannot launch exhibitions on their own, as they need local partners to launch the promotions, according to the notice.

"We will verify whether the universities introduced in the exhibition are recognized by the Ministry of Education," Zhang said.

Parents and students are vulnerable to these illegal agents because they are not familiar with overseas education systems.

A father surnamed Li who took his son to an education fair last month said they received many promotion leaflets as soon as they entered the exhibition hall.

Learning that his son was not doing well in the Chinese college entrance exam, many college representatives promised him that his son could be enrolled in a United States university as soon as September.

But professional agent workers said that it's impossible to send his son to the US so soon without preparing for a year.

Chen Lei of the Shanghai Education Association for International Exchange said many agents promised students that they could attend top universities, but instead they ended up in language schools or pre-university preparatory courses, such as community colleges, after parents had paid them commissions.

"Consumers cannot protect themselves because agents never write what they promise in the contracts," he said.

The association began holding education fairs more than a decade ago and they found more and more students and foreign universities were being misled by unauthorized exhibition competitors.

As an official organization, the association hopes the notice will help put a stop to the illegal exhibitions that may harm the interest of students.


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