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Unlicensed school fails to shut down

EDUCATION authorities were trying to figure out how to deal with a home-education application by Meng Mu Tang, an unlicensed privately run school following traditional Chinese teaching methods, after it failed to shut down by yesterday's deadline.

The Shanghai Education Commission sent a notice letter to the school last Friday, ordering it to shut down by yesterday for operating without a license.

The Songjiang District Education Bureau inspected the school, founded by Lu Liwei and Zhou Yingzhi, yesterday morning and still found many children in the school, which is based in four villas in the district.

"We have halted all education activities," said Lu. "The children are just living in the villas with the permission of their parents."

The couple promised to send children of compulsory-education age to nearby schools, but applied to education authorities for a home-schooling license, which has no legal definition in the country.

Jiang Peilong, director of the property owners' committee in the community, said he was skeptical of the school's efforts to get a home-school license.

"This is just another trick played by the foxy and stubborn organizers of Meng Mu Tang," said Jiang.

Residents were worried that their lives would continued to be disturbed by the school and its students if the education authorities approve the home-school application. Residents have long complained about the school for making noise and occupying community sports facilities and other resources in the neighborhood. Jiang said the boys and girls living in the villas constitutes illegal group-rentals and that residents will continue to appeal to government authorities.

Residents and security guards are stopping students returning from the winter holiday from entering the community. They also said many students are still hiding in the four buildings with the curtains down and that they are not allowed to go outside.

Meng Mu Tang's curriculum revolves around self-study and the recitation of Chinese classics such as Confucius, mixed in with some English language works by Shakespeare.

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


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