June 16, 2015 / 8:40 AM / in 4 years

China to target gift giving, extra fees in school graft campaign

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese government will target gift giving to teachers, illegal charging of extra fees, embezzlement and other corrupt practices as part of an overall graft crackdown, the corruption watchdog said on Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has embarked on a sweeping campaign against deep-seated corruption since assuming power three years ago, pursuing high-flying “tigers” as well as lowly “flies” in all branches of the government.

While tuition is free during the nine years of compulsory education every child gets, many schools charge extra fees as a way of making up budget shortfalls, and parents sometimes give teachers gifts to try and curry favour with them.

In a statement issued in conjunction with the Education Ministry, Finance Ministry and several other departments, the Communist Party’s graft-fighting Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said teachers had a responsibility not to abuse their positions for profit.

“For orders not followed, bans not enforced and behaviour that runs contrary to discipline, cases will be discovered, investigated, exposed and found out,” it said.

Teachers cannot accept invitations to banquets and “extra classes against the rules” are also banned, the statement added.

Such rules are already supposed to exist.

Education is a particularly sensitive area in China due to the traditional importance parents put on schooling and intense competition for only a limited number of university places in the world’s most populous nation.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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