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March 30, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

Students at struggling school told to go home

FORTY pupils turned up for lessons yesterday at a financially troubled international school, only to be told to go home as it had closed.

Now an education watchdog is investigating the legal status of the private school, known as the International Division of Pudong Muyangren Bilingual School in Zhangjiang area.

Parents of the pupils - mostly overseas Chinese and some foreigners - paid 66,000 yuan (US$10,047) a year in fees.

The headteacher could not be contacted yesterday.

Some parents gathered at the campus on Huojiang Road in Pudong after students were told to leave.

"The headteacher has just disappeared," said one mother surnamed Zhou. "At the moment, our prime concern is finding some place where our children can continue their education."

The school had faced financial difficulties, according to parents. They said they paid 33,000 yuan tuition fees in January for the new semester, but on March 18 the headteacher held a meeting to say she was "virtually out of money to run the school."

Yet the sudden closure was still a shock, they said.

The private institution paid to share some buildings and teaching facilities with a public school.

"Officials from the public school authority told us to leave their campus because our school has ceased operations," Zhou said.

The closed school had claimed to be affiliated to the private Pudong Muyangren Bilingual School. However, this is being investigated by the district education watchdog.

Tang Tao, an official with the district education bureau, said they suspected school investors may not have been legally authorized to run an educational institution.

"So far, we have learned that the school is independent from the Muyangren, but we are looking to see if there was an under-the-table deal to use the name," Tang said.

"We advise parents to be more cautious in checking legal qualifications of private schools," Tang added.

Parents said, at its peak, the school had around 300 students. But since a major investors withdrew last year, numbers had dropped to around 40 pupils.


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