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School ordered to close down

THE Shanghai Education Commission yesterday ordered Meng Mu Tang, a privately run school following traditional Chinese teaching methods, to shut down for operating without a license.

In 2006, the education authorities received reports of its illegal practice in Songjiang District. The institute then promised that it would only enroll students below the age of compulsory education or overseas students and obtain all the necessary licenses.

But last year, the authorities found the institute was still operated without a license and enrolling students of compulsory-education age.

The government ordered it to shut down yesterday for violating the country's Compulsory Education Law, which says all children must receive nine years of education at standard schools.

The school, established by parents, revolves around self-study and the recitation of Chinese classics such as Confucius, mixed in with some English works by Shakespeare.

Children are not required to understand the texts with parents believing that the system can cultivate students' language and self-study abilities.

The school charges 2,000 yuan (US$292.6) to 3,000 yuan a month per student for tuition and accommodation. The school, which began in one villa and now occupies four, has 50 students, 39 of compulsory-education age.

Residents have long complained about the school in their neighborhood.

"I cannot stand the noise they make," said a woman surnamed Xue who lives near the school.

Residents say they are woken at 6am by the noise of the children and complain that community sports facilities and other resources are always occupied by the kids.


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