On the eve of the college entrance examination, Zhang Xifeng, a senior high school student in Hengshui Middle School, delivered a speech titled “A Little World, Big You”, which unexpectedly became popular on the Internet. His sentence “I am a native pig in the country, I want to go to the cabbage in the city” quickly sparked public opinion.
Hengshui Middle School where Zhang Xifeng is located is one of the first demonstration high schools in Hebei Province. It is widely known for its high enrollment rate and high-definition north rate, but the evaluation of Hengshui Middle School is mixed.
Although Hengshui’s education model has been criticized by many people, in recent years, super middle schools headed by Hengshui Middle School have risen rapidly and blossomed all over the country.
Hengshui Middle School was originally called “Hengshui County Middle School” and was established in 1951.
In the 1960s, it was designated as a provincial key middle school by the Hebei Provincial Department of Education. But even in the key counties in the Hengshui area, the ranking of Hengshui Middle School counts down all the year round.
In 1992, Li Jinchi was appointed as the head of the Hengshui High School in Hebei Province. With his own power, he took Hengshui Middle School from the middle and lower reaches of the 11 counties in Hengshui City to the top 100 in the province in 2004/number of people with more than 600 points/ Many indicators such as the number of people on the line have become the province’s first national prestigious school.
In 2014, Hengshui Middle School embarked on the path of capitalization. It cooperated with Taihua Company to establish a private high school-Hengshui No. 1 Middle School. In Hengshui, Hengshui Middle School is called the “North Campus” and Hengshui No. 1 Middle School is called the “South Campus”, and the two are often treated the same.
In fact, there is no difference between Hengshui No. 1 Middle School and Hengshui Middle School in terms of teaching system, teaching process, and examination time. Therefore, the so-called “Hengshui Middle School” does not distinguish between these two schools. But the biggest difference between them is that one is public and the other is private.
The college entrance examination results of Hengshui Middle School and Hengshui No. 1 Middle School confirmed the effectiveness of the Hengshui model. Since 2014, Hengshui Middle School and Hengshui No. 1 Middle School have blossomed all over the country through joint operations with local governments or educational institutions and new branch schools. These schools are all named “Hengshui”.
According to incomplete statistics from Blue Whale Education, public information shows that there are more than 30 branch schools in the country under the name of “Hengshui”. In Hengshui City alone, there are two private schools founded based on the management model of Hengshui Middle School, namely Hengshui Middle School Experimental School and Hengshui Ganyang Middle School; other campuses are also located in 24 cities in 11 provinces across the country.
Except for Hengshui city, other branch schools are located in Anhui Province (Hefei, Suzhou), Hebei Province (Tangshan, Baoding, Handan, Zhangjiakou, Dingyuan County of Chuzhou City), Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, Yunnan Province (Dianchi, Chenggong, Yiliang) , Xishan, Qujing, Yuxi, Xishuangbanna), Ordos, Inner Mongolia, Guizhou Province (Guiyang, Liupanshui), Sichuan Province (Zigong, Suining), Lanzhou City, Gansu Province, Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province, Datong City, Shanxi Province, Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province, etc.
It is worth mentioning that Hengshui No. 1 Middle School’s longest cooperative branch school has gone abroad, and “Hengshui No. 1 Middle School Malaysia Branch” was established in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.
The road to high-speed capitalization
How does Hengshui Middle School move toward capitalization? How is the “balanced model” output?
According to public information, in terms of the cooperation model, Hengshui exports brand or management personnel and some teachers, the government provides school premises and enrollment policies, and enterprises provide funds. Blue Whale Education found that the names of cooperative schools include “Hengshui No. 1 Middle School” and “Hengshui Middle School”.
Among the institutions cooperating with Hengshui Middle School, there are many listed companies. On March 12 this year, the First High School Education was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. As of December 31, 2020, it has a total of 19 schools. Fifteen of them are named “Hengshui”. They are spread all over Yunnan, Inner Mongolia, and even counties in the name of Hebei Hengshui Middle School.
In addition, in 2014 Hengshui Middle School cooperated with Jingcheng Education Investment Company located in Suining, Sichuan, and established the “Hengshui Middle School Sichuan Branch” based on the original foreign language experimental school of Suining Middle School; on August 28, 2014, the private Zhangjiakou Dongfang Middle School Hengshui Middle School signed a contract with Hengshui Middle School to run a school to establish “Hengshui Middle School Zhangjiakou Branch”; April 9, 2016, Hengshui Middle School and Henan Yongwei Education Group signed a contract to establish “Hengzhong Henan Branch School”; May 20, 2016, Hengshui Middle School and private school Jiangxi Sanghai Middle School cooperated to establish “Hengshui Middle School Jiangxi Branch”; on December 21, 2016, Anhui Dingyuan Yinghua Middle School added the school card of “Hengshui Middle School Chuzhou Branch”; July 28, 2017, Hengshui Middle School and Anhui Sanhuan The group cooperated to create “Hengshui Middle School Anhui School”-and this is just part of many “joint schools”.
At the same time, “Hengshui No. 1 Middle School” has branch schools all over the country: including Hengshui No. 1 Middle School Fuping Campus, Hengshui No. 1 Middle School Liupanshui School, Hengshui No. 1 Middle School Kangbao Branch, Hengshui No. 1 Middle School Pinghu School, Hengshui No. 1 Middle School Peng Cheng Branch, Hengshui No. 1 Middle School, Lanzhou Branch, Hengshui No. 1 Middle School, Tangshan Branch, Baoding Heyang Hengshui No. 1 Middle and Senior High School, Heyang Hengshui No. 1 Middle School, Tangshan Branch, etc.
Among these institutions that jointly run schools with Hengshui No. 1 Middle School, He Yang Education submitted a prospectus to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on February 11 this year. If it is successfully listed, there will be two listed education companies that are closely related to the name “Hengshui”.
High tuition, high return
After being named “Hengshui Middle School, Hengshui No. 1 Middle School”, what is the profitability of these educational institutions?
Take the first high school education and Heyang education as examples. The first high school’s 2020 financial report shows that it achieved revenue of 446 million yuan, a year-on-year increase of 32.5%; net profit was 80.9 million yuan, a year-on-year increase of 155.3%.
He Yang Education, which submitted the prospectus, is also in a state of steady development. According to its prospectus, its revenues were 396 million yuan, 481 million yuan, and 572 million yuan in the 2018-2020 fiscal year, and the compound growth rate of the most recent three fiscal years was 20.1%; it achieved profits in the 2018-2020 fiscal year. 165 million yuan, 229 million yuan and 256 million yuan, with a compound annual growth rate of 24.7%.
High returns come from high tuition fees.
According to the prospectus of No. 1 High School Education, in 2018, the average tuition fees of high schools, junior high schools and cram schools under No. 1 High School Education were 16,941 yuan, 10866 yuan, and 22,915 yuan, respectively, which were all higher than the average tuition fees of private schools in Yunnan Province over the same period. According to the CIC report, the average tuition fees of private high schools, private junior high schools, and private cram schools in Yunnan Province in 2018 were 9,739 yuan, 8,636 yuan, and 19,426 yuan, respectively.
It can be seen that the charging standard of “Hengshui” is likely to be higher than the average tuition level of ordinary schools. According to the Heyang Education Prospectus, in the 2020/21 school year, the tuition standard for Heyang Hengshui Middle School and Caofeidian Zhongheng High School is also as high as 19,800 yuan. In sharp contrast, during the same period, the tuition fee for undergraduate courses at Hebei University of Science and Technology under Heyang Education was only 16000-20000 yuan.
With the blessing of capital, the development of “Hengshui Middle School” has entered the fast lane. But at the same time, it also attracted a lot of controversy.
According to related reports by The Paper, in June 2017, Hebei Taihua Jinye Real Estate Development Co., Ltd. issued a document called “Statement of the Board of Directors of Hengshui No. 1 Middle School” on its official website, signed by Hengshui Huarui Investment Co., Ltd. and Hengshui No.1 Middle School.
The statement stated that since the official seal of the private Hengshui No. 1 Middle School was forcibly removed by the principal of Hebei Hengshui No. 1 Middle School at 23:40 on September 19, 2014, the board of directors of Hengshui No. 1 Middle School has never authorized individuals and groups to cooperate in establishing branch schools. From 23:40 on September 19, 2014 to June 2017, all contracts and agreements signed in the name of Hengshui No. 1 Middle School and other school-running activities and business activities are not related to the board of directors and investors of Hengshui No. 1 Middle School. , Hengshui No. 1 Middle School’s financial account and investors have not received any sponsorship funds and franchise fees from any school.
Subsequently, in June 2017, the Hebei Provincial Department of Education issued the “Notice on the Rectification of Hebei Hengshui Middle School and Hengshui No. 1 Middle School”.
In the document, Hengshui Middle School and Hengshui No. 1 Middle School both put forward rectification requirements. The three rectification requirements of the Hebei Provincial Department of Education for Hengshui Middle School include: the legal representative of Hebei Hengshui Middle School shall not act on behalf of the legal representative of Hengshui No. 1 Middle School; the appointment of teachers in Hebei Hengshui Middle School to private schools should be approved by the Hengshui City Education Bureau, and shall not Affect the teaching activities of Hebei Hengshui Middle School; remove the relevant information related to Hengshui No. 1 Middle School from the official website of Hebei Hengshui Middle School, and no simultaneous occurrence of Hebei Hengshui Middle School and Hengshui No. 1 Middle School in the content related to external propaganda.
In addition, the capitalization of Hengshui Middle School has also caused controversy. Some people frequently questioned, “Is education used to make money?” On the other hand, Hengshui Middle School’s practice of “picking the top” of outstanding students has aroused resentment from other local schools. The education bureaus of Shijiazhuang, Chengde, Langfang, Zhangjiakou, Cangzhou, Xingtai, Handan and other places have issued opinions on handling illegal enrollment of private schools such as Hengshui No. 1 Middle School.
In fact, in recent years, the rapid development of “super schools” such as Hengshui Middle School, Huanggang Middle School, and Maotanchang Middle School is a manifestation of the Matthew effect. Some people commented that local education needs super middle schools, and parents of students also need super middle schools, and capital needs super middle schools. Even with doubts, under the influence of the Matthew Effect, the “super middle school” will only grow stronger.
At the moment, “education equity” has become a buzzword. And will the development and growth of super middle schools run counter to the concept of “educational equity”? In addition, the current regulatory policy for “pink-out enrollment” is accelerating the replenishment. How long can the “myth” of super high schools last?