The discovery of a preferential university enrollment policy for children of school staff in China has started a debate. However, before too much is made of this, it is common practice in some other countries for the children of teachers to get preferential treatment. Although this is often denied by the teachers.
Now in China the news has leaked out and created a small furor. A document from the Education Department of Hunan province reads, "The children of school staff at the local universities and colleges should be given admission to the school of their parents as long as their scores meet the school’s minimum requirement."
According to the education department the policy, begun in May last year, is still in effect but will be annulled in 2010.
Is it rank favoritism? Sure. Does it happen most places? Certainly.
Students who took the national college entrance exam in June found the document on the official websites of several local universities and reported it to local media.
Regarded as a benefit or reward for the parents’ contribution to education, the children of school staff have enjoyed various privileges to quality education in China. But education insiders says it has always been an unwritten rule and conducted largely in secret.
Zhou Qifeng, president of Peking University, is one of the school leaders against the practice. In 2006, as the president of Jilin University, he encountered a big protest from colleagues when he decided to raise the enrollment requirement of the school staff’s children.
CriEnglish.com reported that Liu Wei, mother of a nine-month-old baby, said, "Workers in public transportation can get free rides, why can’t teachers let their children study in their schools?" Not a persuasive argument.