2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

TC Media Center from the Office of External Affairs

Section Navigation

Free Market Spurs Diverse Offereings of Private Schools

From middle-class urbanites with stable incomes to migrant workers struggling to earn a living, an increasingly diverse cross section of Chinese families is turning to private schools, sometimes out of necessity, but in many cases by choice.

Over the next quarter-century, the market for private schools expanded. For many Chinese families, however, the most desirable options were still public schools, which had strong reputations and academic services, said Henry M. Levin, a professor of economics and education at Teachers College, Columbia University.  Private schools were traditionally regarded as “second-chance schools” for students whose exam scores or financial circumstances did not allow them to enroll in public schools, said Mr. Levin, who directs the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education.

 Running a private school is often a profitable business, Mr. Levin noted. Many private schools, as a result, are being run by individuals or companies that have little or no experience in education, he said. Those private operators can hold costs down by hiring teachers at relatively low salaries as they rake in tuition and fees. “There’s a lot of underutilized talent in China—teachers who want to teach,” Mr. Levin said. “They’re willing to teach for cheap.”

This article appeared in the June 18, 2007 edition of the Education Week.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2007/06/20/42chinaprivate.h26.html previous page