by Wang Tianyi
Many of China's private higher education institutions are experiencing a "cold current" this year as their number of enrollments plunges dramatically.
Some of these institutions have even been forced to closure due to a sharp reduction in tuition fees, a main source of income to keep the schools up and running.
A commentary on the Guang Zhou Daily says there are two reasons behind their decay.
One is false propaganda which tarnishes their reputation; the other is the global economic downturn, which has made it difficult for parents to afford high tuition fees.
Some people have questioned why the state-run higher education institutions have not been affected by the economic crisis.
The writer says the government's support for private universities cannot be compared with that of the public universities.
The level of tuition fees in private universities had to be increased which is a bad strategy in time of financial crisis.
Besides, the government's current educational policies do little to lure top teachers into the private universities.
Teachers working in independent institutions are not eligible for the same benefits as those in state-run organizations, such as endowment insurance.
The article concludes that private higher learning institutions are a key element of the Chinese education system.
The government needs to revamp its current education policy in a way that allows better support for the private education sector.