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Education center closes, leaving parents and unpaid teachers in lurch

A PRIVATE education training center closed suddenly this week, leaving in the lurch many parents who paid tens of thousands of yuan in tuition as well as teachers who had not been paid for months.

The door of the headquarters of Yisi Training Center in Hongkou District was locked today with a notice from police, asking parents to go to a nearby police station.

The training center, which had as many as 37 branches at its height providing extra help to students, has been in decline and its remaining branches closed this week.

The center had about 800 students as of this week.

Two other notices were posted by the property management company at the headquarters, saying that Yisi had not paid rent totaling 255,000 yuan (US$41,129) or more than 30,000 yuan of property management and parking fees. A lawsuit was threatened if the fees are not paid.

At the police station on Gaoyang Road, three parents were filing reports about the case at noon today.

A police officer said the station had received many parents yesterday and today, and an investigation is underway.

Li Huirong, mother of a high school student, said she paid about 4,800 yuan for 12 mathematics courses at one of the center’s branches in the Xinzhuang area in Minhang District. Her child went there only six times.

“I learned that something was wrong from a teacher who said he did not receive a salary for five months, but it is too late, and now I only want a refund for the remaining courses,” Li said.

Li said she had suspicions about the center when she visited the branch in September to pay the tuition because there was only one teacher at the building, but she still paid, reassured by the center’s large operations.

A security guard said more than 100 angry parents had visited the headquarters of the center, asking for a refund.

A company operator surnamed Xu said the company is nearly bankrupt after it began to experience cash flow problems because it overexpanded its branches, Jiefang Daily reported.

Similar cases have happened before.

In January, Think Try and Play Child Development Center, known as TTP or “Play Everyday” in Chinese, closed unexpectedly. Parents were surprised to find the company was registered as a fitness center with the Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce, rather than as an educational institution.


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