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Famous schools in far-off places

January 27, 2015

konjaku: although speculation, it seems likely that when the Beijing Vanke real estate company proposed to use its capital to construct branch campuses of elite Beijing schools in “far-off” Fangshan adjacent to its new residential communities, the local Education Commission was willing to promise, vaguely, that Vanke clients would get special access to the schools (see previous post). However, these elite schools are also public schools, funded at least in part by taxation. As the fall academic session approached, it became harder for the Education Commission to justify admission privileges for one residential project, to a school that was public. If Vanke had opted to open private schools exclusively for its residents instead, these schools would not brought the same advance acclaim as the famous public schools. And, Vanke would have to ask its residents to pay tuition, a difficult appeal to families who felt they had already been asked to pay for the construction of the campuses in higher home prices.

This problem of reconciling the interests of new residents in real estate projects on the Beijing periphery with the larger public good, that is, equitable access to social services, is one that must be occurring in many different places. Here is a similar example, in Tongzhou, on the southeast edge of Beijing, again involving school access, “education real estate.” In this case it appears that the government built the branch campus, and the real estate developers indulged in wishful thinking.

Beijing: 6000 buyers appeal to Jinyu jiaye (Gem Real Estate)

The hope of the famous school has disappeared– the “healthy living model project” designation has been an annoyance

Jinyu 7090 community

Jinyu 7090 community

Jinyu 7090

Jinyu 7090

Jinyu 7090

Jinyu 7090

A representative of the buyers in the Jinyu 7090 community has told International Finance News, that the developer (Jinyu jiaye) solemnly promised at the time of sale that that purchasers in the Jinyu 7090 community would be able to attend the famous Shijia Primary School Tongzhou Branch campus. They further promised that the Jinyu 7090 community would be a nation-wide healthy living model project. But in less than a year the school they hoped for disappeared, and the so-called “nation-wide healthy living model project” has only made things inconvenient for them.

A Ms Li said that her decision to buy in the Jinyu 7090 community was based on the publicity materials promise of access to Shijia Primary School. The Tongzhou Branch campus has a good reputation, and is just across the road from Jinyu 7090 community. In Beijing, if there is a famous school in the vicinity, this has a clear effect on housing prices. According to the statistics put together by some buyers, of the 1400 purchasers of residences, 70% had decided to buy in this out-of-the-way location, with inconvenient traffic, because of the Shijia Primary School.

The buyers quickly discovered, though the campus was at their doorstep, the school refused to take their children. The reason the school gave was that the developer of the Jinyu 7090 community had not completely paid the education tax to the Tongzhou Education Commission. The residents had no choice but to send their children to a primary school is a village some distance away.

At the same time, many residents reported to this paper that the “healthy living model project” designation was annoying.

A Ms Wang said, in order to qualify for the “healthy living model project” the developer put in solar powered street lights. But many of these street lights were erected under trees put in to greenify the area, and at night the light they gave off was too dim. The developer had to dig up the areas beside the roads all over again and put in regular electric lights.

What bothered the residents more was the issue of parking spaces. The developer promised the residential community 800 parking spaces. They even promised a two floor underground parking garage, up to international standards. This was supposed to be one of the shining points of their application to receive the healthy living model project designation. But the residents say it has never been built. At present, the total of parking spaces over the whole areas is less than 400.

The developer promised a 1000 square meter kindergarden, but although it was completely built, no one has been able to use it yet. They promised a complete set of stores and shopping choices, but up to now all there is is one small supermarket. They promised a clinic, recreational and entertainment facilities, and so far, zero. Ms Li grumbled, if I need to buy vegetables, I need to go 10 or 20 kilometers to the farmer’s market, and the farmer’s market is once a week.

This reporter has repeatedly tried to contact the Jinyu 7090 community general manager, but up to now there has been no answer.

Hesheng Binjiang Dijing has duped its residents: the famous school it promised has disappeared.

Source: Beijing Evening News (Beijing Wanbao) 2013-07-26

Recently a reader informed this newspaper, that the Tongzhou large real estate project Hesheng Binjiang Dijing has asserted that “Shijia Hutong School heads its list of educational resources.” But in the purchase agrement it clearly states that “this project is not within the school zone of Shijia Hutong School, and the school will not accept students from it.” How did this come about?

The developer says that it has never once stated that it is in the zone of the Shijia Hutong School Tongzhou branch campus.. Children of its residents can go to the nearby Yuqiao Primary School. But this reporter verified with the Tongzhou Education Commission, Yuqiao Primary School is already strained to capacity, and the possibility that it will take students from Hesheng Binjiang Dijing is extremely small.

Starting in 2012-05, several websites stated that Hesheng Binjiang Dijing was in the Shijia Hutong School zone, and that it enjoyed unrivaled access to the school. By coincidence, around this time Hesheng Binjiang Dijing adjusted its price, up 3000 to 5000 yuan per square foot from the previous year. Then they added a 2000 yuan per square meter extra room furnishing fee. In the end, the price went up to 23000 per square meter.

Hesheng Binjiang Dijing

Hesheng Binjiang Dijing

Hesheng Binjiang Dijing

Hesheng Binjiang Dijing

Hesheng Binjiang Dijing

Hesheng Binjiang Dijing

Around the same time the price went up, the purchasers found out that Hesheng Binjiang Dijing did not belong to the school zone of the Shijia Hutong School Tongzhou branch campus.

A Hesheng Binjiang Dijing purchaser showed this reporter her purchase agreement. It clearly states that Hesheng Binjiang Dijing is not within the school recruiting zone of Shijia Hutong School, and asked the purchaser to acknowledge receipt of this information. A Hesheng Binjiang Dijing spokesman told this reporter, “As to which real estate project falls within the school zone, that is for the Education Commission to decide. So, don’t ask me, ask them.”

A Tongzhou Education Commission staff member in charge of determining school zone boundaries told this reporter that bringing the branch campus to Tongzhou was being carried out by the Tongzhou Education Commission in coordination with the Education Commission that oversees the original campus. It is really not something the real estate developer decides. If the developer uses expressions like “we drew in the branch campus,” or “ we forged [the agreement]” or “it happened with our support,” they really don’t have a leg to stand on. He said unequivocally, “In bringing the Shijia Hutong School branch campus to Tongzhou, we had absolutely no communications with Hesheng Binjiang Dijing, so don’t say it happened because of their lead.”

This reporter looked at the original plans of Hesheng Binjiang Dijing, and discovered that, aside from a kindergarden, there were no plans for a primary or middle school. In building a project of more than 400,000 square meters, with over 2800 residential units, what did they expect their purchasers to do about the school problem?

A project staff member told this reporter, “we already made arrangements with the nearby Yuqiao Primary School to have the children of our residents attend there.” But he was unable to show any proof of this. The sales office said they had not heard any such thing. “If it were true, we would have advertised it to the purchasers, since school district residences are in high demand.” A Tongzhou Education Commission member said, “Yuqiao School already has a school zone comprising 20 residential communities, it is very unlikely it can take students from another large real estate development. Educational resources in Tongzhou are in short supply. Each year we allocate as best we can, but we can’t make promises in advance.”

“A complete set of high grade educational resources” “Encircled by 15 year’s worth of famous schools”these phrases are on the maps and posters on the wall in the Hesheng Binjiang Dijing sales office. The official “project introduction” says, “drawing a line around our project, inside it is the Honghuanglan [red yellow blue] bilingual kindergarden, and outside it, but close by, is the renowned Shijia Primary School with one hundred years of history. Lantian [Blue Sky] bilingual kindergarden, Yunqiao Primary School, Luhe Middle School, Shidai Middle School, Yunhe Middle School, Sanqiao Middle School, and Sanqiao Middle School. This altogether makes 15 year educational system in one place, making this a community imbued with a rich educational ambience.”


Does Hesheng Binjiang Dijing have a connection to these schools? A salesman said, “We only inform our clients that these schools are in the vicinity, but we definitely do not promise them that their children will be admitted. We have not made any agreement with any primary or middle school. In 2014 we will have just finished building, only then will we work out formally what neighborhood district we are in, and only then will know our school zone. Right now, our buildings are not yet finished, how can we know our school zone?”

A lawyer’s perspective

At present it is not resolved, in the future it will be a rights issue

What is notable is that, a supplement included in the purchasing agreement states, “That which the seller puts in advertisements, publicity materials, and statements associated with the scale model in the sales office, are all without exception an invitation to make a contract.”

According to a lawyer in the Beijing Zhongyun office, that which is defined as “contract invitation” as things the seller says to induce the buyer, are thus set aside as not a legally binding part of the contract. It is quite difficult to win a lawsuit based on what is promised in the “contract invitation.” The purchasers must urge and follow up with the developer to resolve the education problem with all due speed, otherwise they will have difficulty placing their children in schools, and getting their rights will be doubly difficult to achieve in the future.

Shijia Primary School Tongzhou Branch Campus Student Admissions Brochure


What is the Shijia Primary School Tongzhou branch? It is a district priority, public school, opened 2009-09-01.

Tongzhou Branch Campus

Tongzhou Branch Campus

In 2013 will admit 320 new students, in 8 classes. The school has the capacity for 1,920 students in 48 classes. At present there are 18 classes with 650 students. There are cadres, 51 teachers, 45 of which are full time.
The median age of the teachers is 34. Of those, 23 have graduated from college and pursued further training (69% of the total), 10 have completed a three year college (31% of the total).

The school has residence buildings, with the capacity to board 600 students, attached dining halls and bath facilities. The dining facilities can feed 1000 people at the same time. There is a multi-media classroom, an information technology classroom, a computer reading room, a library, a television studio, an audio-visual presentation room, a science lab, a vitrine display room, a fine arts classroom, a calligraphy classroom, a music room, a dance studio room. There is also a psychologist’s consulting room, crafts, ceramics, in all 28 speciality classrooms. There is an indoor swimming pool, a gym, and a broadcast hall.

The school’s special features: for the students to enjoy education. If we encourage our student’s good points, these will multiply, if we refrain from criticizing our student’s shortcomings, these will gradually decrease. Our goal is happy and healthy students, enjoying their studies. From enjoyment arises method, techniques, the art of doing things. The method is all in a glance, a smile, a motion. To enjoy being with others is to learn generosity, to comprehend, to make discoveries, to reach a boundary.

The curriculum encourages the students to be multi-faceted, multi-dimensional. Special activities include the “small reporters club” ( comprising reporters, editors, tv anchors, camera operators), enchanting shadow plays, block printing, an intro to information technology, fitness, singing work songs, skip rope, embroidery, etc.The students can freely choose what interests them.

Parent’s review: previously we believed that the educational method and course contents had some relation to the original Shijia School, but at the school opening ceremony we found out that they had just borrowed the name, education and teaching matters are all set up in Tongzhou. The teachers seem qualified, as far as it goes, but in the end they are not that great, at least if the kindergarden teacher we had last year is any indication. This teacher lacked method, and did everything in a slapdash way. Perhaps someone else has encountered better teachers there, I can only speak from my experience.

konjaku: the following is a description of the original Shijia Primary School.

The Shijia primary school 史家小学 was founded in 1939. In 2010 it had 74 classes, a staff of 248, including 7 star teachers, and 18 senior teachers, 94 Party members. In 1979, this school took the lead in outfitting classrooms with computers. By 1999 every classroom had LCD overhead projectors and digital scanners. For every 100 square meters of classroom space there is a multimedia room. They installed an in-school network, allowing the students to send and receive e-mail, and make their own homepages. Internet is also set up in every classroom. The school has its own closed-circuit tv station, the “Red scarf of the young pioneers station.” The school makes tv programs to extend the development of moral education, and this station has been specially recognized for encouraging people of talent to contribute their abilities. Beijing city assesses this school as distinguished by the work of the Young Pioneers. The school campus has limited space,but the school has managed to design facilities for physical education: they have a playground of synthetic resin on the roof, and a 1200 square meter gymnasium, built underground, with pool tables, ping pong, a dance space, a swimming pool, and a gym.

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