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Legal Alerts and News Updates

Chinese Government Regulates Private Tutoring Companies

In an effort to reduce the long hours—and significant sums of money—many Chinese students and their parents were spending on after-school tutoring, in July 2021 China issued Opinions on Further Reducing the Burden of Homework and Off-Campus Training for Compulsory Education Students (“Double Reduction Policy”). The Double Reduction Policy establishes targets and requirements for in-school education and regulates after-school private tutoring activities. Among other things, it requires all off-campus training institutions that focus on core academic subjects to be converted into or registered as non-profit institutions.

After the implementation of the Double Reduction Policy, many companies began to shift towards non-academic subjects with a focus on providing tutoring in disciplines such as art and music. By the end of 2022, however, even arts-based tutoring companies became subject to PRC policies. China’s most recent guideline, issued in December 2022, establishes several requirements applicable to non-academic off-campus tutoring programs. For example, such companies are prohibited from holding courses that conflict with the teaching hours of primary and secondary schools. In addition, in-person courses may not end later than 8:30 pm and online courses must finish by 9:00 pm. Companies may not charge a one-time fee for more than three months/60 class hours or a one-time fee of more than RMB 5,000 ($737 USD).

On July 24, 2023, based on the December 2022 guideline, the Ministry of Education ("MOE”) published an Announcement on Strengthening the Standardized Management of Art Examination Training in Deepening the Governance of Non-Disciplinary Off-Campus Training, requiring institutions providing art and music training services for high school students to get approval from the MOE. On the same day, the MOE issued a circular launching the National Comprehensive Platform for Supervision and Service of Off Campus Education and Training (“Platform”). As of August 25, 2023, the Platform has hosted 112,221 online and offline tutoring institutions (including institutions offering academic and non-academic tutoring services) whose licenses, funds, personnel, materials, venues and courses have been approved by local MOEs. Meanwhile, the MOE also launched an “Off-campus Training (Parents)” app that helps parents to purchase courses, cancel courses, apply for refunds, evaluate courses and make complaints. It also launched the “Off-campus Training (Institutions)” app to support institutions to open stores, sell courses, publish information, provide consulting services, and respond to complaints.

According to the Interim Measures on Administrative Penalties for Off-campus Tutoring issued by the Ministry of Education on September 12, 2023, any tutoring company that continues to operate without a license to do so may be subject to a fine of up to 100,000 yuan ($13,741).

Chinese tutoring companies operating in all disciplines will need to update their business models significantly in order to comply with recent MOE requirements, in addition to applying to be hosted by the Platform as required by the MOE. Any U.S. universities or colleges with contemplated or existing partnerships with Chinese companies that provide private training services should conduct due diligence of their Chinese partners and ensure that the programs offered by their Chinese partner are approved and otherwise compliant with relevant Chinese laws, regulations and guidelines.

Chinese Government Regulates Private Tutoring Companies
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