Pay to learn: A graphical analysis of the link between housing and quality education in Beijing by Data Works

NB: This project is only viewable on a mobile device in a portrait orientation.

High quality education comes at a price in China, a high price indeed. In 2008, Beijing reformed its middle school enrollment system by eliminating subject based tests. They replaced it with the Nearby Enrollment Policy, where students living in the vicinity of schools can get higher chances to be enrolled.

This caused housing prices and rentals surrounding famous schools to rise extremely quickly. This phenomenon in rising housing prices then led to housing near famous schools to be termed “Xuequfang”; School district based housing.

“Xuequfang” or school district based housing is a term that people both love and hate. These houses are often small, overpriced and sometimes rundown apartments in the vicinity of these top competitive elementary schools. Despite this fact, prestige is what parents are most concerned about. As long as their child can be enrolled or admitted into the most prestigious school districts, their child will have more opportunities to enter a prestigious school. Moreover, their child can get to enjoy high quality education resources and there will be greater chances of getting admitted into good middle and high schools thereafter.

"Pay to Learn" is a project that uses in-depth data analysis, graphs and interviews to illustrate the link between housing and quality education in Beijing. Apart from several detailed examples to show how extreme the price differences for "Xuequfang" can be, topics such as culture, asset speculation, and China's rising middle class will be explored to provide context and understanding to this phenomenon. In addition, data from real estate websites, schools and Beijing's education authority have been mined, analyzed, and summarized into graphs and illustrative maps - all of these organized in an attempt to understand the complications behind the science of "Xuequfang".

  • Credits
    Reporting and graphics by Jiachuan Wu* and Spe Chen* Translated by Jiachuan Wu* and Christine Low* Edits by Christine Low* Visual Design by Jiaxin Zhang Web Development by Spe Chen*, Jiachuan Wu*, Dongke Jiang* and Linlin Nie Data provided by Yu Liu (Tencent Real Estate Channel), Yunfang Data and Beijing Xuequfang Observer Produced by Zhimin Huang* and Chuanju Wei With production assistance from Yi Hua Zhang *Members from Data Works
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