Privatizing Education in China The Politics eZine - Privatization


In this article Samuel Mao tracks the growth of neo-liberal education in China.  Since this time, the criminal syndicate and blood bank for the Washington Post, Kaplan University has made inroads into the country ( (

Kaplan University, as readers know, is one of the largest on-line educational rip-offs in the US and England and it is responsible for putting students into debt purgatory by commodifying and selling  phony degrees that can never be utilized.   This is all possible under no-liberalism, of course.

Owner of the major restrictive voting shares of the Washington Post (the mother organization of Kaplan University and Kaplan Higher Education), Donald Graham, has been the subject of both False Claim suits by the government, accusations of insider trading for his and his families own benefit, huge pay-offs to corporate CEO’s, vaporized college courses, unlicensed radiology and SurgTech programs for nurses, violations of a multitude of laws, the continued theft of student lives through monetization and the source of lobbying efforts against any regulations designed to rein in the criminal enterprise.

You can read all my more than four dozen articles on the outfit known as Kaplan University and how they have devastated the lives of young people.  Simply key in google or Mozilla: “Danny Weil AND Kaplan University” or “Danny Weil and the Washington Post”.  The crime scenes are exposed and written in detail.

You can also see one of the forty or so articles written for Truthout last year:  “Danny Weil AND You can’t regulate a criminal enterprise”.

Now, as the steam roller moves into China, one can only think of the huge market the nefarious enterprise will have in going through the pockets of students and the government, the latter who will finance the private profits generated on Wall Street for the Washington Post, or WaPo as it is called on the trading floor.

And as the trading floor fills with the buzz of stock activity, the killing floor for students will thicken with the blood of Chinese young people and the rancid policies of China itself.

This has all been made possible by the Obama administration that has refused to prosecute Kaplan University for its multitude of False Claims against the government in an attempt to line its pockets.  Enabling large corporate thieves like Kaplan seems to be the game plan of the Department of Education, under corporate dominated Arne Duncan and the Department of Justice, under enabler, Eric Holder.

This, as public universities and colleges face the sordid process of corporatization or stare down the rifle of loss of accreditation and public funds if they “don’t except the deal that they are told they cannot refuse.” 

Make no bones about it, Kaplan University and its counterparts, the other thirteen online cartels, have now accounted for over 40% of all student loan debt and they are now proceeding like locusts to China, where the profits will be ill-gotten like pigs at the trough.  They continue to be predators looking for a host.

 Privatizing Education in China
The Politics eZine - Privatization

The Impact of Neo-liberalism on China’s Education System

China has gone through 30 years of reformation, and it’s more and more like a capitalism country but not what they claim as a socialism country. During this transition time, there are lots of social problems arising and social justice in China is undoubtedly affected. By analyzing China’s situation we can track neo-liberalism’s growth.

By Samuel Mao - 2008.

Guangzhou Yucai Middle School and Guangzhou Yucai Experimental School, in Guangzhou China are both run by the same public school administration, but one is a public school and one is a private school. I went to Guangzhou Yucai Middle School for my secondary education, and I witnessed the formation of the connection between these two schools. Guangzhou Yucai Middle School is a public school with more than fifty years history and it’s ranked in the first class of the public school system in the city. Guangzhou, where the school is located, is the third biggest city in China, right after Beijing and Shanghai.

It was this reputation that led a developer to approach Guangzhou Middle Scholl about the possibility of establishing a private school in their housing development. In recent years, China’s real estate market has been booming. More and more luxurious living areas are being built in big cities. By law, developers have to include schools, parks, and other public facilities in their projects. Developers focus on locating schools with a first class reputation in their developments to attract buyers. With this goal in mind, a real estate developer contacted Guangzhou Yucai Middle School, a public school, and made a deal. The deal was that the developer provides land and some money to the school and the school provides educational support for establishing a school in his development with the brand of Yucai. Therefore, the Yucai Middle and Experimental schools are under the same public school’s management and have similar education quality, but Yucai Middle is a public school, Yucai Experimental is a private school.

The roots of this kind of private public partnership dates from the late 1970s, after the death of Mao Tse Tung, when Deng Xiao Ping became the Chinese leader and started to reform the economy to bring market reforms to the socialist society. These changes go by the name “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. The goal was to make the economy function with market principles under the guidance of the neo-liberal economist Milton Friedman. With thirty years of economic reform and social changes, China has been deeply impacted by neo-liberalism. Although these reforms have led to an increase in the overall enrolment in elementary and secondary schools, they have also led to growing inequality in access to education across the country.

As early as 1985, China started to reform its education system. The policy thrust was toward decentralization and privatization. The central government reduced its own control, and now only plays “the role of ‘macro-management through legislation, allocation of funding, planning, information service, policy guidance and essential administration’” (Mok and Lo, 2007). At the same time, the central government recognized the importance of providing basic education. Therefore, they continued to provide enough funding for elementary and junior and senior secondary schools to achieve the policy goal of compulsory education for all. Because of this, enrolment increased.

According to Ministry of Education statistics, in the year of 2002 the net enrollment ratio of primary schools in China was 98.58%; the gross enrollment ratio of junior secondary schools had 90%, and the gross enrollment ratio of senior secondary schools which is not a part of compulsory education also reached 81.2%. In 1992, these three ratios had been 97.2%, 71.8%, and 48.6%. The central government’s policy of providing adequate funding and consolidating basic education have been successful in increasing enrolment, but negative impacts do exist.

As mentioned, the focus of the reform is about decentralization, which gives local governments, schools, and education departments more operational autonomy and financial flexibility, which may have contributed many of the corruption cases that have come to light in recent years. Local schools and education departments, for example, often charge excessive fees, like “school selection fees”, from students.

There are no education vouchers in China, and students technically can only attend their local school for compulsory education, and their testing scores have to meet the admission requirements for secondary education. “School selection fees” function as “education vouchers” in this situation. Students can pay fees to enter a more desirable school even if it is outside of their area or they can’t meet the admission requirement. The result is inequality in China’s basic education system. The school selection fees are gradually making schools like Yucai Middle School into schools for rich people or at least middle income people.

As low income students are being squeezed out of public schools like Yucai Middle School, the growing number of private schools like Yucai Experimental School provides even more options for the wealthy. Wealthy students who do not have the standardized test scores and who cannot get access to first class public schools through school selection fees have the option of paying for first class private schools. Both “school selection fees” and the private sector in public school system create education inequality, and this inequality is based entirely on students’ socioeconomic status.

Personally, I can see one other positive in China’s economic reform of the education system. Decentralization does give more power and space to local school boards to design curriculum based on the local culture and the local situation. However, as a country in the midst of a huge reform, China has to pay attention to the negative impacts of its policy changes. As many people have pointed out, the problem of the widening gap between rich and poor has been one of the biggest challenges in China’s reformation. The challenge of this disparity is easily found in China’s education system. In general privatization is creating inequality in China’s education system.


Mok, Ka Ho and Lo, Yat Wai (2007). The Impacts of Neo-liberalism on China’s Higher Eduaion , The journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, Volume 5, November 1: May 2007, Centre for East Asian Studies, University of Bristol.

Kwong, Peter (2006). The Chinese Face of Neo-liberalism, 7th October, 2006.

Li, Li (2007). Healthcare Under Fire, No.10, 8th March 2007.

The National Bureau of Statistics of People’s Republic of China (2007). Consumer Price Index (CPI) kept growth in October.

The Ministry of Education of People’s Republic of China (2003). Report of Education Statistics Volumn 1 No. 26, 27th February, 2003.

Klein, Naomi (2007). The Shock Doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism, Alfred A. Knope: Canada.

Friedman, Milton (2002). Capitalism and Freedom, ed. 2002. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

See Also

Disaster Capitalism in Brazil’s Education System

Privatizing Education in New Orleans

Privatizing Education in Sweden

New Orleans: Natural Disaster or Disaster Capitalism?

The Impact of Disaster Capitalism on Hong Kong’s Education System

The Impact of Disaster Capitalism on England’s Education System

Disaster Capitalism in the United States

The Shock Doctrine Revisited


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About the author

Dr. Danny Weil is an investigative journalist, author and public interest attorney who practiced public interest law for more than twenty years and has been published in a case of first impression in California. He received the Project Censored "Most Censored" News Stories of 2009-10 award for his article: "Neoliberalism, Charter Schools and the Chicago Model / Obama and Duncan's Education Policy: Like Bush's, Only Worse," published by Counterpunch, August 24, 2009 and again in 2013 for his 2012 article, "HR 347 Would Make Many Forms of Nonviolent Protest Illegal" ( He writes profusely on education and for-profit predatory colleges.