Law on the Promotion of Non-public Schools of the People's Republic of China


(The Law of the People’s Republic of China on Promotion of Non-public Schools, adopted at the 31st Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on December 28th, 2002, is hereby promulgated as Order of the President of the People’s Republic of China No.80 and shall go into effect as of September 1st, 2003.)

Chapter I General Provisions

Article 1 The present law is formulated in accordance with the Constitution and the Education Law of the People’s Republic of China with a view to implementing the strategy of invigorating the country through science, technology and education, promoting the sound development of non-public schools, and safeguarding the lawful rights and interests of the non-public schools and the educatees.

Article 2 The present law shall be applicable to activities conducted by social organizations or individuals, other than the State organs, to utilize non-governmental financial funds to establish and run schools and other institutions of education which are geared to the need of society. In cases where no provisions of the present law are applicable, the provisions in the Education Law and other laws concerning education shall apply.

Article 3 Non-public education belongs to public welfare undertakings and constitutes a component part of the cause of socialist education.

With regard to Non-public schools, the State applies the principles of enthusiastic encouragement, vigorous support, correct guidance, and administration according to the law.

People’s governments at all levels shall incorporate the undertakings of the Non-public schools into their plans of national economic and social development.

Article 4 Non-public schools shall abide by laws and regulations, implement the educational principle of the State, guarantee the educational quality and devote their efforts to the training of various types of people for the cause of socialist development.

Non-public schools shall implement the principle of separating education from religion. No organizations or individuals may make use of religion to conduct activities designed to interfere with the educational system of the State.

Article 5 Non-public schools and government-run schools share equal legal status, and the State safeguards the autonomy of the Non-public schools in running their own business.

The State protects the lawful rights and interests of the sponsors, principals, teachers and staff members and educatees of Non-public schools.

Article 6 The State encourages donations to the establishment and running of schools.

The State rewards and commends organizations and individuals that have made outstanding contributions to the development of the undertakings of Non-public schools.

Article 7 The administrative department of education under the State Council shall be in charge of the overall planning, comprehensive coordination and macro-administration of the work relating to Non-public schools nationwide.

The administrative department of labour and social security and the relevant departments under the State Council shall respectively be in charge of the work relating to the Non-public schools within the scope of their duties as defined by the State Council.

Article 8 The administrative departments of education under the local people’s governments at or above the county level shall be responsible for the work relating to Non-public schools in their own administrative regions.

The administrative departments of labour and social security and the relevant departments under the local people’s governments at or above the county level shall respectively be responsible for the work relating to Non-public schools within the scope of their duties.

Chapter II Establishment

Article 9 Social organizations that establish Non-public schools shall possess the qualifications of a legal person.

Individuals that establish Non-public schools shall possess political rights and full capacity for civil conduct.

A Non-public school shall have the qualifications of a legal person.

Article 10 The establishment of a Non-public school shall meet the local need for educational development and the requirements prescribed by the Education Law and relevant laws and regulations.

The standards for the establishment of Non-public schools shall, mutatis mutandis, conform to those for the establishment of government-run schools of the same grade and category.

Article 11 The establishment of Non-public schools that provide education for academic credentials, pre-school education, training for preparing self-study examinations and other cultural education shall be subject to examination and approval by the administrative departments of education under the people’s governments at or above the county level within the limits of their powers defined by the State; the establishment of a Non-public school that mainly provides training for vocational skills, including training for vocational qualifications, shall be subject to examination and approval by the administrative department of labour and social security under the people’s government at or above the county level within the limits of its powers defined by the State, which shall send a duplicate of the approval document to the administrative department of education at the same level for the record.

Article 12 To apply for preparing to establish a Non-public school, the sponsor shall submit to the examination and approval authorities the following materials:

(1) an application, the contents of which mainly include: the sponsor, the aims of education, size of the student body, level of the school, forms of education, conditions for establishing and running the school, internal management system, raising of funds and their management and use, etc.;

(2) names of the sponsors and their addresses or their titles and addresses;

(3) source of the assets, amount of the funds and their valid certificates, in which the property rights are clearly stated; and

(4) where the assets of the school are donated, an agreement on the donations, in which the names of the donators, the amount of the assets donated, their use and management, and the relevant valid certificates are clearly stated.

Article 13 The examination and approval authorities shall, within 30 days from the date it receives the application for preparing to establish a Non-public school, make a decision in writing on whether to approve it or not.

If they approve the application, they shall issue a written approval for preparing to establish the school; if they do not approve the application, they shall explain the reasons.

The period of preparation for establishing such a school shall not exceed three years; if it exceeds three years, the sponsor shall renew its application.

Article 14 To apply for official establishment of a Non-public school, the sponsor shall submit the following materials to the examination and approval authorities:

(1) the written approval for preparing to establish the school;

(2) a report on the preparations made for the establishment;

(3) articles of the association of the school and the name lists of the component members of the first executive council, board of directors or other decision-making bodies of the school;

(4) valid certificates of the assets of the school; and

(5) qualification certificates of the principal, teachers, and book-keepers and accountants.

Article 15 Where conditions for the establishment of a school are satisfied and the standards for establishment are reached, an application for its official establishment may directly be made, and the materials specified in Article 12 and subparagraphs (3), (4) and (5) of Article 14 of The present law shall be submitted.

Article 16 Where an application for official establishment of a Non-public school is made, the examination and approval authorities shall, within three months from the date they receive the application, make a decision in writing on whether to approve it or not, and serve the decision on the applicant; where, in this regard, an application is made for the official establishment of a Non-public institution of higher education, the examination and approval authorities may, within six months from the date they receive the application, likewise make a decision in writing on whether to approve it or not and serve the decision on the applicant.

Article 17 The examination and approval authorities shall issue a license for establishment of a school to the Non-public school for the official establishment of which they give approval.

Where the examination and approval authorities do not approve the official establishment of a school, they shall explain the reasons.

Article 18 Where a Non-public school obtains the license for establishment and, in accordance with the provisions of relevant laws and administrative regulations, registers with the registration authority, the latter shall immediately handle the matter in accordance with relevant regulations.

Chapter III Organizations and Activities of Schools

Article 19 A Non-public school shall set up an executive council, a board of directors or other forms of decision-making bodies of the school.

Article 20 The executive council or the board of directors of the school shall be composed of the sponsors or their representatives, the principal, and the representatives of the teachers and staff members. More than one-third of the council members or directors shall, at least, have five years’ education or teaching experience each.

The executive council or the board of directors of the school shall be composed of not less than five persons, with one of them serving as chairman of the council or board. The name list of the chairman and members of the council or the chairman of the board and directors shall be submitted to the examination and approval authorities for the record.

Article 21 The executive council or the board of directors of a school shall exercise the following functions and powers:

(1) to appoint and dismiss the principal;

(2) to amend the articles of the association of the school and formulate rules and regulations of the school;

(3) to make development plans and approve annual work plans;

(4) to raise funds for running the school, and examine and verify the budgets and final accounts;

(5) to decide on the size and the wage standards of the teachers and staff members;

(6) to decide on the division, merging and termination of the school; and

(7) to decide on other important matters.

The functions and powers of other forms of decision-making bodies shall be defined in reference to the provisions of this Article.

Article 22 The chairman of the executive council or the board of directors or the principal of a Non-public school shall serve as the legal representative of the school.

Article 23 A Non-public school shall, in reference to the qualifications for the principal of a government-run school of the same grade and category, appoint its principal, and the age limit may appropriately be extended both ways, and the appointment shall be reported to the examination and approval authorities for verification and approval.

Article 24 The principal of a Non-public school shall be in charge of education, teaching and administration of the school, and exercise the following functions and powers:

(1) to carry out the decisions made by the executive council, board of directors or any other form of decision-making body;

(2) to put into execution the development plans, draw up the annual work plans and financial budgets, and formulate the rules and regulations of the school;

(3) to appoint and dismiss staff members of the school, and give rewards and impose punishments;

(4) to make arrangements for education, teaching and scientific research, and ensure the quality of education and teaching;

(5) to be in charge of the daily work of school administration; and

(6) other powers delegated by the executive council, the board of directors or any other form of decision-making body of the school.

Article 25 A Non-public school may, on the basis of the classifications of its students, the length of schooling and their academic performance and in accordance with the relevant regulations of the State, issue academic credentials, certificates for completing a course or qualification certificates of training to the students it has enrolled.

Students who receive training in vocational skills may be awarded vocational qualification certificates of the State when they are considered qualified by the vocational skills appraisal authority approved by the State.

Article 26 A Non-public school shall, in accordance with the law, ensure that the teachers and staff members participate in democratic management and supervision through the representative assembly of the teachers and staff members with the teachers as the main body, or through other forms.

Teachers and staff members of a Non-public school shall, in accordance with the Trade Union Law, have the right to form trade union organizations to protect their lawful rights and interests.

Chapter IV Teachers and Educatees

Article 27 Teachers and educatees of Non-public schools shall enjoy equal legal status as the teachers and educatees of government-run schools shall.

Article 28 Teachers appointed by Non-public schools shall possess the qualifications for teaching specified by the State.

Article 29 Non-public schools shall conduct ideological and moral education and professional training for teachers.

Article 30 Non-public schools shall guarantee the wages and welfare benefits for teachers and staff members according to the law, and pay social insurance premiums for them.

Article 31 Teachers and staff members of Non-public schools shall, in accordance with the law, share equal rights with those of government-run schools in respect of professional training, appointment of posts, calculation of the length of service as a teacher or staff member, commendation and reward, and social activities.

Article 32 Non-public schools shall, in accordance with the law, safeguard the lawful rights and interests of educatees.

Non-public schools shall, in accordance with the regulations of the State, establish the system for administration of students’ records and give rewards and punishments to educatees.

Article 33 Educatees of Non-public schools shall enjoy equal rights as those of government-run schools of the same grade and category in respect of admission into schools of a higher grade, employment, preferential treatment and being elected as advanced students.

Chapter V School Assets and Financial Management

Article 34 Non-public schools shall, in accordance with the law, establish financial and accounting systems and an assets management system, and set up account books complying with the relevant regulations of the State.

Article 35 Non-public schools shall enjoy property rights of the legal persons in respect of the assets provided by sponsors to Non-public schools, State-owned assets, donated property and school accumulation.

Article 36 In the duration of Non-public schools, all the assets shall be managed and used by the schools in accordance with the law, and no organization or individual may seize and occupy them.

No organization or individuals may, in violation of laws or regulations, collect any fees from Non-public institutions of education.

Article 37 The items and rates of fees to be collected by Non-public schools from educatees who receive education of academic credentials shall be worked out by the schools, submitted to relevant departments for approval and made public;and the items and rates of fees to be collected from other educatees shall be worked out by the schools concerned, submitted to relevant departments for the record and made public.

The fees collected by Non-public schools shall be used mainly for educational and teaching activities and the improvement of the school running.

Article 38 The use and financial management of the assets for Non-public schools shall be subject to supervision by the examination and approval authorities and relevant departments.

Non-public schools shall prepare their financial and accounting reports at the end of each fiscal year, entrust public accounting firms to audit the reports according to laws, and publish the audit results.

Chapter VI Administration and Supervision

Article 39 Administrative departments of education and the relevant departments shall provide guidance to Non-public schools in respect of education and teaching and teachers training

Article 40 Administrative departments of education and relevant departments shall, in accordance with the law, exercise supervision over and provide guidance to Non-public schools, in order to improve the quality of such schools;and they shall make arrangements or entrust public intermediary bodies with the arrangements for assessing the level and the quality of education of such schools, and announce the results of the assessment to the public.

Article 41 The general regulations and advertisements for student enrolment of Non-public schools shall be submitted to the examination and approval authorities for the record.

Article 42 Where a Non-public school infringes upon the lawful rights and interests of educatees, the educatees and their relatives shall have the right to make petition to the administrative department of education and any relevant departments, and the said department shall handle it without delay.

Article 43 The State supports and encourages public intermediary bodies to provide services to Non-public schools.

Chapter VII Support and Reward

Article 44 People’s governments at or above the county level may set up special funds for financing the development of Non-public schools and for rewarding and commending the collectives and individuals that have made outstanding contributions.

Article 45 People’s governments at or above the county level may take such measures as financial aid and the lease or transfer of idle State-owned assets in support of Non-public schools.

Article 46 Non-public schools shall enjoy preferential taxation policies formulated by the State.

Article 47 Non-public schools may, in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations of the State, accept donations afforded by citizens, legal persons or other organizations.

The State, in accordance with relevant regulations, applies preferential taxation policies and gives commendation to citizens, legal persons or other organizations that donate property to Non-public schools.

Article 48 The State encourages financial institutions to support the development of Non-public schools by providing credit and loans.

Article 49 Where the people’s government entrusts a Non-public school with the task of compulsory education, it shall, in accordance with the agreement of entrustment, appropriate the corresponding funds for education to these schools.

Article 50 Where a Non-public school is constructed or expanded, the people’s government concerned shall provide the preferential treatment in accordance with the regulations on the use of land for and on the construction of public welfare undertakings. No land that is used for education may be used for other purposes.

Article 51 After the cost of a Non-public school is deducted, the funds for its development are withheld and the sum of money for other necessary expenses is drawn in accordance with the relevant regulations of the State, the investor may obtain a reasonable amount of requital from the cash surplus of the school. Specific measures for obtaining reasonable amounts of requital shall be formulated by the State Council.

Article 52 The State takes measures to support and encourage non-governmental organizations and individuals to establish and run Non-public schools for the development of education in ethnic minority areas and in out-lying and poverty-stricken areas.

Chapter VIII Alteration and Termination

Article 53 For a Non-public school to be divided or merged into other schools, the executive council or the board of directors of the school shall, after the financial settlement, apply to the examination and approval authorities for approval.

Where a Non-public school applies for a division or merging, the examination and approval authorities shall give a written reply within three months from the date it receives the application; where the application is made for the division or merging of a Non-public institution of higher education, the examination and approval authorities may, within six months from the date it receives the application, give a written reply.

Article 54 For alteration of the sponsor of a Non-public school, the matter shall be put forth by the sponsor in person and, after the financial settlement and upon agreement by the executive council or the board of directors of the school, submitted to the examination and approval authorities for verification and approval.

Article 55 For alteration of the name, level, or category of a Non-public school, the matter shall be submitted by the executive council or the board of directors of the school to the examination and approval authorities for approval.

Where an application is made for the alteration of a Non-public school from one type to another, the examination and approval authorities shall give a written reply within three months from the date it receives the application; where the application is made for alteration to a Non-public institution of higher education, the examination and approval authority may, within six months from the date it receives the application, likewise give a written reply.

Article 56 Where a Non-public school is found in one of the following circumstances, it shall be terminated:

(1) it is required to be terminated according to the school constitution, and the termination is approved by the examination and approval authorities;

(2)the license for running the school is revoked;

(3)it cannot continue due to insolvency;

Article 57 When a Non-public school is to be terminated, it shall make proper arrangements for the students in school. When a Non-public school providing compulsory education is to be terminated, the examination and approval authorities shall assist the school to make arrangements for the students to continue their studies.

Article 58 When a Non-public school is to be terminated, it shall make financial settlement according to the law.

Where a Non-public school requests termination itself, it shall make arrangements for the settlement; where it is abolished by the examination and approval authorities according to the law, the settlement shall be arranged by the authorities: where it is terminated for it cannot continue due to insolvency, the settlement shall be arranged by the People’s Court.

Article 59 Property of a Non-public school shall be liquidated in the following order:

(1)tuition fees and extras and other expenses paid by educatees that should be returned;

(2)wages payable to the teachers and staff members and the social insurance premiums that should be paid;

(3)other debts that should be cleared off.

After the debts mentioned above are cleared off, the remaining property of a Non-public school shall be disposed in accordance with provisions of relevant laws and administrative regulations.

Article 60 When a Non-public school is terminated, the license for running the school shall be taken back, its seals destroyed and its registration cancelled by the examination and approval authorities.

Chapter IX Legal Responsibility

Article 61 Where a Non-public school violates the provisions of the Education Law or the Teachers Law in conducting education activities, a penalty shall be imposed in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Education Law or the Teachers Law.

Article 62 Where a Non-public school commits one of the following acts, the examination and approval authorities or the relevant departments shall order it to rectify its conduct within the time prescribed in the order and issue a warning;if there are unlawful gains derived therefrom, they shall be confiscated after the fees collected are returned; if the circumstances are serious, the school shall be ordered to stop enrolling students and its license for running the school shall be revoked; if a crime is constituted, prosecution for criminal responsibility shall be undertaken according to the law:

(1)dividing or merging the Non-public school without authorization;

(2) altering the name, level, category and sponsor of the Non-public school without authorization;

(3)publishing false general admission regulations or advertisements for the purpose of defrauding money;

(4) issuing or forging academic credential, certificates of courses completed, certificates of training or vocational qualification certificates in breach of the law;

(5)confused management ending up in the seriously interrupted education and teaching and as well as a baneful influence on society;

(6)obtaining the license for running the school by submitting false supporting documents or concealing important facts by other deceptive means;

(7) forging, counterfeiting, marketing, renting or lending its license for running the school;

(8)terminating the school out of malice, withdrawing its funds or misappropriating the funds for running the school in the infringement of the law.

Article 63 Where the examination and approval authorities or the relevant departments commits one of the following acts, it shall be ordered by the authority at the higher level to rectify their conduct;if the circumstances are serious, the persons directly in charge and the other persons directly responsible shall be given administrative sanctions according to the law; if economic losses are caused, it shall bear the responsibility to pay compensation according to the law; if a crime is constituted, prosecution for criminal responsibility shall be undertaken according to the law:

(1) failing to give a reply within the prescribed time limit to an accepted application for the establishment of a Non-public school;

(2) giving approval to an application which does not conform to the conditions provided for in The present law;

(3) causing serious consequences due to negligence;

(4) collecting fees in violation of the relevant regulations of the State;

(5) infringing upon the lawful rights and interests of a Non-public school;

(6) abusing its powers or engaging in malpractices in other ways.

Article 64 Where a non-governmental organization or individual establishes or runs a private school without authorization, it/he shall be ordered by the relevant administrative departments of the people’s government at or above the county level to rectify its conduct within the prescribed time;if the school conforms to the conditions provided for in The present law or relevant laws regarding Non-public schools, it may go through the formalities of examination and approval; if it fails to meet the conditions at the expiration of a prescribed time limit, the school shall be ordered to stop running, and if economic losses are caused, the school shall bear the responsibility to pay compensation.

Chapter X Supplementary provisions

Article 65 The Non-public schools mentioned in the present law include other Non-public institutions of education established according to the law.

The principals mentioned in the present law include the principal administrative persons in charge of other Non-public institutions of education.

Article 66 Measures for administration of profit-making Non-public training institutions registered with the administrative departments for industry and commerce shall be separately formulated by the State Council.

Article 67 Measures for schools established and run cooperatively by overseas organizations or individuals within the territory of the People’s Republic of China shall be formulated by the State Council.

Article 68 The present law shall go into effect as of September 1, 2003, and simultaneously concludes The Regulations on Running Schools by Different Sectors of Society issued by the State Council on July 31, 1997.

(Source: Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China)

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