Under the ban, there are still training institutions that sell excess lesson packs

Experts: The pre-fees charged by training institutions should be fully covered by the scope of

□ Chen Lei, reporter of this newspaper

The Opinions on Regulating Non-subject Off-campus Training for Primary and Secondary School Students (hereinafter referred to as the Opinions) issued by the Ministry of Education and other departments at the end of 2022 requires that training institutions shall not charge fees for a period of more than 3 months or 60 class hours in the form of recharge, sub-card, etc., and shall not exceed 5000,<> yuan.

It has been nearly nine months since the implementation of the "Opinions", but an interview by a reporter from "Rule of Law Daily" found that a number of non-discipline off-campus training courses still sell courses with a one-time fee of more than 9,5000 yuan.

The interviewed experts believe that this phenomenon shows that the implementation of the "double reduction" policy in specific fields still faces some implementation problems, and the difficulty and resistance of implementation are large, resulting in certain financial risks in the training field and may become a factor of social instability, which urgently needs to be paid attention to by relevant regulatory authorities.

Experts call for the supervision of training fees to always be the focus of various policy documents of "double reduction" to prevent excessive capital risks and derivative financial risks. The solution lies in the fact that all localities should strengthen the supervision of pre-fees, ensure that the training fees of non-discipline training institutions are managed by designated banks, special accounts, and special funds, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of the public.

Evading regulation for profit

Selling class hours beyond the policy regulations

Recently, Beijing citizen Sun Xiaoyang (pseudonym) encountered a bad thing: seeing that the more than 1,<> yuan of children's ballet courses purchased for his daughter were about to be "lost".

A few months ago, Sun Xiaoyang decided to enroll her daughter in ballet lessons, and after comparison, she chose a relatively large children's ballet training institution, which has stores in dozens of cities across the country, some directly operated stores and some franchised stores. Subsequently, under the promotion of the staff of a store in Beijing of this institution, Sun Xiaoyang spent more than 1,<> yuan to buy a ballet course package.

The reporter saw in the parent group of the store that there are many parents like Sun Xiaoyang who buy ballet large course bags. Ms. Lin, a parent in Shanghai, even bought more than 3,<> yuan of ballet lessons at a local store.

This way of selling courses is not in line with national policies. The "Opinions" issued by the Ministry of Education and other departments at the end of last year require that training institutions shall not collect fees for a period of more than 3 months or 60 class hours in a one-time or disguised form in the form of recharge, sub-card, etc., and shall not exceed 5000,<> yuan.

However, the reporter visited Beijing and found that there are not many non-discipline training institutions that sell class hours beyond the policy: in a Legoland training institution in Chaoyang District, Beijing, the cost of a one-time purchase of 40 lessons is 7600,200 yuan, and the cost of a one-time purchase of 24600 lessons is 40,1 yuan. At a tennis training institution in Fengtai District, Beijing, students purchased 2 lessons at a time, and the cost was more than 50,9000 yuan. And a basketball training institution with stores in many areas of Beijing, the lowest lesson package is more than <>,<> yuan for more than <> lessons...

Zhou Xiang, associate professor of the School of Education of Chinese Minmin University, believes that such phenomena show that the "double reduction" policy still faces some implementation problems, and there are still certain financial risks in the training field, which may become a factor of social instability.

"How to further optimize the regulatory system to improve the effectiveness of supervision and create a legal environment conducive to the healthy development of training institutions is a problem that requires in-depth consideration." Cai Hailong, deputy dean of the Institute of Education Policy and Law of Capital Normal University, said.

Cai Hailong analyzed that from the perspective of consumers, in order to ensure that children can get stable training services, some parents are still willing to buy large course packages at one time. From the training provider's perspective, the non-compliance is mainly profit-driven, as the one-time fee allows the training organization to maintain a larger cash flow. Driven by profit, some training providers often circumvent regulatory requirements by offering personalized services, package packages and other marketing methods.

Establish a risk early warning system

Timely issuance of early warning information

Evading supervision is prone to capital risks, which are caught up by Sun Xiaoyang.

On August 8 this year, the staff of her daughter's ballet institution posted a message on the parents' social group saying that the school district could not operate due to the company's arrears of teachers and staff salaries, and the store would be closed.

At this time, Sun Xiaoyang's daughter had just taken 10 ballet lessons.

Subsequently, parents counted the relevant situation in the social group, and more than 300 parents were involved in one store alone, involving a total of several million yuan in training costs. Other parents found that the agency had multiple stores closed.

After the incident, parents repeatedly reported problems to relevant departments, and relevant staff of relevant authorities replied to parents that the institution had no money to continue operating and no money to return to parents.

On August 8, the agency issued a statement on its public account admitting that some stores had recently closed. Regarding the reasons for the closure, the statement mentioned that due to the impact of the epidemic, operating costs and management costs were relatively high, resulting in continuous cash flow losses, and "extremely difficult operations".

The reporter saw in the parents' social group that until this time, some parents did not know that the state has a pre-fee restriction policy for training institutions.

The reporter learned in the interview that before this, many parents had encountered similar situations: the store was closed after the training institution collected the lesson fee, and when the parents applied for a refund, they learned that the institution was no longer able to refund.

According to the Opinions, the training fees of non-discipline training institutions shall be managed by designated banks, special accounts, and special funds. All the fees charged by the training institution shall be entered into the special account for the fee of the institution, and other accounts of the institution or non-accounts of the institution shall not be used to collect training fees, and the fee account shall be disclosed to the public.

In Cai Hailong's view, when the training fees of training institutions are separated from the pre-fee supervision system, it is difficult for the relevant competent authorities to supervise the pre-charged funds of training institutions and the management of their own funds, and it is difficult to carry out risk control on the pre-fees of off-campus training institutions, and the occurrence of problems such as "difficulty in refunding" is inevitable.

Cai Hailong called for the establishment of a risk early warning system with rigid constraints for possible risks of training institutions. Specifically, according to the characteristics of the training service itself, the regulatory requirements for financial services can be appropriately borrowed, and the legal obligation of training institutions to perform information disclosure and risk warning can be set to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of consumers. Institutions that violate the above obligations shall be required to bear corresponding compensation in accordance with the law, and promptly release risk early warning information to the public.

Strengthen supervision and smooth reporting

Increase publicity to prevent risks

The interviewed experts believe that the solution lies in strengthening the supervision of pre-charging of off-campus training institutions, and if the pre-fee method is adopted, the pre-fee of training institutions should be fully included in the scope of supervision.

In this regard, there have been exploratory practices in various places.

In Zhejiang, off-campus training institutions approved by education administrative departments at all levels in Zhejiang Province can independently choose the bank to open a supervision account for collecting trainees' training fees, and independently decide whether to sign a training fund supervision agreement with the bank that opened the account. Off-campus training institutions shall log in to the province's off-campus training institution information management system to indicate account information within 5 working days after opening a training fund supervision account. The fund supervision of off-campus training institutions implements risk graded early warning, which is divided into yellow and red risk warnings according to the severity of risks. When the balance of the training fund supervision account is lower than the preset value or the amount of change is higher than the preset value, an early warning is triggered.

In Shandong, off-campus training institutions should independently select eligible banks in the county (city, district) where they are stationed to open a unique special account for custody of pre-charged funds (hereinafter referred to as the special account), and report to the education department for the record within 3 working days from the date of opening the special account. Off-campus training institutions should manage the pre-charged funds separately from their own funds. All pre-fees for off-campus training must be entered into a special account, and all collected in cash and other forms should be collected into a special account from the same day to the next day, so that all pre-charges "should be managed and fully managed".

In addition, it is worth noting that in late July this year, the National Comprehensive Platform for Supervision and Service of Off-campus Education and Training sponsored by the Ministry of Education was officially launched, which integrates the old platform for managing online training institutions in various provinces and the old platform for offline training institutions in districts and counties, and the newly built supervision and service platform.

According to reports, all online and offline discipline and non-subject training institutions for primary and secondary school students should be included in the platform supervision. Starting from the application for the establishment of training institutions, the platform can not only provide parents with "one-stop" services for course selection, course purchase, cancellation, refund, evaluation and complaints, but also support training institutions to set up stores, sell courses, release information, carry out consulting services, respond to complaints, and provide all-round and whole-process penetrating supervision and collaborative office services for education, science and technology, cultural tourism, sports and other competent departments.

Cai Hailong believes that in the process of implementing national policies, we should focus on strengthening the supervision of training institutions' charging behavior, and establish and improve the normalized and process-based supervision system for training institutions by improving supervision methods and means, increasing the frequency and density of supervision, and implementing the coordination of education supervision and administrative law enforcement.

"The regulatory responsibilities of relevant entities should be clarified, and an institutional mechanism for multi-department linkage and coordinated law enforcement led by the education sector should be established, with special attention to giving play to the role of market supervision departments and financial supervision departments." Cai Hailong suggested actively promoting the revision of relevant laws and regulations, local regulations and normative documents, and providing a clear legal basis for relevant competent authorities to carry out supervision according to law.

Cai Hailong also called for the launch of the national comprehensive platform for off-campus education and training supervision and services, non-discipline training institutions should be forced into the platform supervision as soon as possible to ensure the safety of parents' funds.

The vitality of policies lies in their implementation. It is recommended that the relevant competent departments strengthen the intensity of active law enforcement, unblock the channels for reporting violations, promptly deal with training institutions with illegal facts, include high-risk areas and institutions in the scope of daily supervision, increase the frequency of supervision, and ensure that policies take root. In addition, it is necessary to increase policy publicity, so that parents know the basic way of training fees, recognize possible risks, and enhance their awareness of self-protection.