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August 24, 2011

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Students demand intern pay

SCORES of out-of-town high school graduates are demanding their pay for summer vacation "internship" work at a factory in Shanghai.

They were brought to work in the city by Ganxi College in Jiangxi Province, which launched a summer internship scheme to promote itself and attract new students.

Ganxi College tried to get students to apply to study there after they had worked in Shanghai for a month and withheld 60 percent of their salaries as tuition fees, students claim. The college allegedly withheld more than 1,000 yuan (US$156) from most students.

"The college representative, Hu Zhengsheng, came to our high school at the end of May to invite us to participate in the summer internship event," said Zhong Guifang, a student from Ertang High School in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. "He said it didn't matter whether we applied for the school or not. I double-checked with them before leaving my home," she said.

"However, his attitude changed completely after we reached Shanghai."

About 30 to 40 students from the school came to the Shanghai factory, along with 100 students from elsewhere.

They worked on an assembly line in a computer manufacturing company, Zhong said. Most worked night shifts, usually six days a week.

Students claim that Hu, an official with the college's student affairs division, visited in late July and asked them to apply to Ganxi College. He asked them to sign a contract which gave the school most of their pay as tuition fees. Students refused to sign it.

Ganxi College teacher, Zhang Bing, who brought the students to Shanghai, said they only took students willing to apply to the college.

"It's hard to find summer jobs for inexperienced students," he said.

Zhang said he had no idea what Hu had told the high school graduates beforehand.

The college will refund students, Zhang said. However, few students have received their money.

Neither Hu nor Ou Shaoming, Zhong's head teacher who allegedly worked as an intermediary, were answering their cell phones yesterday.

Many colleges are facing student shortage because the birthrate fell in the 1990s.


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