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Tongzhou district issues more stringent requirements for school admissions

February 20, 2015

konjaku: “On 04-18-2014, the Beijing Education Commission released their compulsory education school admissions document for 2014, which required that non-permanent residents produce the “five proofs.” …What is new this year, is that the Education Commission empowered each district to “integrate its practice and establish and implement its own detailed regulations.”
After this, each district added its own strict stipulations on top of the five proofs. For example, Dongcheng district requires that both parents both live and work in the district, Fengtai requires that at least one of the parents works in the district, Haidian requires that both parents have temporary resident permits that were transacted before 2014-03-01, Changping requires that both parents hold a temporary residence permit issued before 2013-12-31, which is still current. In addition, they have added a new condition to the five proofs, requiring proof that applicants have made social security payments. For instance, Tongzhou requires both parents to have made social security payments inside the district from 2013-01 to 2014-03, amounting to at least 12 months of payments. Chaoyang also requires both parents to have paid social security. It is this one stipulation that is making it impossible for many non-permanent resident children to complete the verification process.”

As the above shows, Tongzhou has set up perhaps the most stringent conditions, by requiring social security payments from both parents inside the district. Why inside the district? Previously I thought that the reason to ask for payments “inside the district” (even social security payments)was that these functioned as a local tax. If the district was going to spend more money for schools or school construction, it wanted something in return. However, after reading the following article, it seems as though the purpose of the requirement is simply to mandate something which no one can fulfill, thereby driving non-permanent resident children back to their hometowns.

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Beijing quietly raises the school admissions threshold to non-permanent residents

2014-05-20, Caixin net

Reporter (trainee) Zhao Han

http://china.caixin.com/2014-05-20/100679826.html

This year Tongzhou, on top of the five proofs required of non-permanent residents to send their children to first grade, added the further requirement of social security payments, which, they clearly state, must be paid “within our district.” The majority of non-permanent residents who live in Tongzhou actually work in other districts, and make their social security payments there [in the districts where they work]. 05-31, which is the last day to register for primary school, is fast approaching, and many Tongzhou non-permanent resident families find the school gates shut against them.

The five proofs do not seem that difficult to obtain, but some household heads who engage in the business of collecting scrap and waste products, and other low-end laboring jobs, said that getting the proof of employment in Beijing is difficult. Tongzhou’s more strict and detailed regulations this year are not only aimed at the low end labor force. Even those who have been paying social security for ten years, and have even gone so far as to buy a house in Tongzhou are suffering.

On 05-19, of the 200 or more household heads who gathered at the city complaint’s office, the majority had already collected the five proofs, but were unable to solve their school admissions problem.

Mr Zhang, a representative of the complainants, said that in 1996 he came from Chengde (in Hebei) to go to college. After he graduated he went right to work, and at present he manages an advertising company. His child was born in Beijing in 2008, and has grown up in Beijing ever since. Mr Zhang said, “Since last year we have been following the Education Commission website with close attention, and preparing our five proofs. We felt were on the right track, and our children would have no problem getting into primary school.”

The surprise attack came on 04-30, when Mr Zhang looked at the Tongzhou page on the website and saw the required standards. The first one that caught him up was, “Show proof of employment within our district.” The applicant had to provide the master copy, as well as a photocopy of an employment contract with an employer in “our district.” Also social security payments between 2013-01 and 2014-03, comprising 12 months in all.

A Mr Sun, a native of Shandong, stayed in Beijing after he and his wife graduated from college. He said, this “in our district” requirement is extremely irrational. As everyone knows, Tongzhou is a “bed town.” The majority of people there work outside the district, but choose to live in Tongzhou because rents are cheap. The Tongzhou resident who pays social security in Tongzhou [instead of where they work] is extremely rare.

The Tongzhou notice of standards says the applicant must have made social security payments between 2013-01 and 2014-03. A household head, Ms Li, said that as it happened she was in the process of changing jobs at that time, and did not pay social security for 12 months. Even though she had paid social security continuously for over 10 years before that, this did not fit within the strict requirement written into the standard, therefore she could not use that in her five proofs.

Controlling the urban population, driving away the “low-end group.”

The heads of household, one after another, guessed that Tongzhou was going one step beyond Beijing city proper in strictly controlling the urban population. Mr Sun said, certain household heads blocked the way of a Tongzhou education commission official and demanded an explanation. The official said, this is the overall trend Beijing is following. They want the low-end masses and the markets [densely packed neighborhoods of stalls] to be driven out of Beijing. Tongzhou has limited resources, and these are all being taken over by people who have come from elsewhere.

This reporter found out, that from 05-15, household heads have been presenting complaint letters, visiting the Education Commission and government offices. Mr Sun said the answer they got was, “We will not receive you, we will not explain, we will not have a conversation about this.”

Peking University Education Finance Research institute fellow Song Yingquan said, for several years, the admissions threshold for students from other places has been made to rise. The districts, taking population control as their objective, have stripped away the fundamental rights of children to attend school. This is short-sighted, it is incorrect. In the long-term, the whole nation and society will have to pay for this shortsightedness.

This reporter has not been able to connect to a Tongzhou Education Commission person for a comment.

Mr Zhang (张) told this reporter, “all of our relatives have moved to Beijing. The national government is in the process of solving the problem of children left behind in hometowns [by giving migrant families urban permanent residency which includes school admissions rights], but Tongzhou’s new policy is creating new left-behind children.”

Many households said, they are firmly determined not to take their children back to their hometowns. However, if they remain in Beijing, the 5 proofs as newly defined will bar their children from school. The majority of these[200] household heads have already asked for 6 days off from work. Mr Sun said, “How can we think of working? Isn’t it for the sake of our child that we work? These last several days, when I see my child at home, I feel especially unhappy.”

On 05-19, the Beijing city complaints office received the representative of the household heads. The office suggested that the household heads first go to the Tongzhou Education Commission complaints office to report their problem, then to the Tongzhou district government to review their case, and after that go to the Beijing city education commission to review their case, and finally they should come back to the Beijing city government office to review their case. The household heads said they were afraid that if they went through this entire process, the 05-31 deadline to sign up for school rosters would already have past.

Editor: Ren Bo, lay-out editor Wang Yong

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