China will initiate a nationwide crackdown on illegal education fees from September 20, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), one of the seven government agencies carrying out the plan, on Friday.
The move, the sixth of its kind in recent years aimed to reduce financial burden on Chinese families, would conclude by the end of November, the NDRC said in a circular distributed to governments at all levels.
The authorities would examine education fee collectors including schools, local governments and education administrations. The inspection would be retroactive back to September 2007. Cases involving major offences that were not interrupted since September 2006 were also subject to the inspection, the circular said.
Starting this semester, both urban and rural students in primary school and junior high schools will be exempted from tuition and miscellaneous fees as the country has canceled these fees for the nine-year compulsory education period.
However, the students still need to pay for textbooks and uniforms.
China has strived to tap the vast potential of its human resources through expanded access to education, a move to sustain its fast economic growth.
(Xinhua News Agency September 12, 2008)