Teacher 'fines' students for wrong answers in English exam

An English teacher in Kunming was found fining students 50 yuan (US$7.50) for each wrong exam answer, collecting thousands of yuan in the process.

The teacher explains to parents in a WeChat group that the money received through fines will be used to buy fruit, yoghurt, bread, and to reward high-achieving students.

The teacher's note outlining the total amount received and the amounts dished out to good students.

An English teacher in Kunming was found fining her students 50 yuan (US$7.50) for each wrong answer made in an exam, netting nearly 4,000 yuan from the class of 40.

The incident was exposed after the Kunming No.10 Middle School teacher, Zhao Sha, posted an itemized note online which outlined that she had received 3,950 yuan in "fines" for the mid-term exam on November 7.

Some students were made to give the teacher several hundred yuan after the exam, which was then partly used to reward 12 students who did well in the test.

The teacher then explained to parents in a private WeChat group that money left over would also be used to buy the entire class fruit, yoghurt and bread for an upcoming event, and that students who improve will continue to receive rewards.

One of the parents told Beijing Youth Daily that Zhao warned the students online about the fines on November 5. Parents then paid the fines for their children via online "red envelope" services or asked their children to take the money to school. 

Parents complained that Zhao's fining system hadn't obtained their consent in advance, and that some families had to pay 400-500 yuan.

A school official said that Zhao acted alone, without the school's approval. The school apologized to the parents and returned all funds.

Regardless of whether the school agreed or not, such "fines" are illegal, Beijing lawyer Han Xiao said, adding that parents who encounter such problems should contact the relevant authorities. 

The school and local educational inspectors are investigating the case.

Special Reports