The after-school education market in China was shaken after Chinese Communist Party (CCP) head Xi Jinping, criticized profit-making after-school programs in mainland China during the “Two Sessions.”
The “Two Sessions” are annual plenary sessions of China’s National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which make national-level political decisions.
A high-quality and balanced basic public education service system is needed, Xi said at the fourth session of the 13th National Committee of the CPPCC in Beijing on March 6, 2021, according to Xinhua News.
On March 8, Ni Minjing, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, joined a discussion on “a complete ban on after-school training institutions,” during a live program of the “Two Sessions.”
Soon after, official documents circulated online, issued by Beijing authorities of Chaoyang district, Changping district, and Haidian district, indicating scrutiny and reopening suspension, targeting after-school institutes teaching foreign languages, primary school subjects, and university entrance examination courses.
It was not only limited to Beijing.
Ms. Zhang, who runs a private school in Shanghai, told RFA that almost all after-school institutes in Beijing, Shanghai, and even across the country had recently been called off.
“This has not happened before,” she said.
By the closure of NYSE equity markets at 4 p.m. EST on March 10, stocks of after-school training institutions such as TAL Education Group, GSX Techedu, and New Oriental Education & Techno were down 11.64 percent, 8.59 percent, and 14.08 percent, respectively.
The Beijing Municipal Education Commission denied the complete ban on after-school institutes on March 12 through a public post on its WeChat platform, ascribing the shutdown to bad pandemic control, false advertising, and low-quality teaching.
After-School Programs Pose Weakness to Communist Brainwashing
A China expert suggests the CCP’s move is paving the way for the complete brainwashing of students with communist ideology.
China expert Xue Chi told The Epoch Times that although there’s a lot of turnover in China’s after-school education industry, such a sweeping shutdown was rare and may indicate some hidden political motive. He said he suspects what he calls “complete brainwashing.”
“The CCP regards ideology and education as a strategic ‘ideological battleground.’ … After-school training has something special: students’ desire for knowledge and to uphold a sense of justice. The CCP is particularly wary of these things,” Xue said.
He mentioned the term “seven speak-nots” in the CCP’s education system. “No one is allowed to talk about universal values, freedom of the press, civil society, citizen rights, past mistakes of the Communist Party, the privileged capitalist class, and judiciary independence.”
In 2019, the CCP’s Ministry of Education moved to suspend advanced placement tests in four subjects in mainland China by 2020, including U.S. history, world history, European history, and human geography. These courses were designed to help secondary school students ease the academic workload and better adapt to U.S. universities.
In 2018, the Ministry of Education requested local departments to scrutinize textbooks of primary and secondary schools and to ban school-based curricula textbooks (curricula determined by the school itself), and overseas textbooks.
Xue said the fundamental motive has its roots in vigilance over and the rejection of Western values, especially those of the United States. He described those unmonitored after-school operators as undermining the CCP’s ideological firewall.