Two private schools in Shanghai were punished by the municipality's education authorities for asking the parents of students who participated in interviews on Saturday to take exams.
Private schools in Shanghai held their recruitment interviews over the weekend.
On Saturday morning, some parents complained online that Private Yangpu Primary School in the city's Yangpu district was asking parents to answer test questions, including logic problems.
Other parents complained that the Shanghai Qingpu World Foreign Language School in Qingpu district also asked them to answer questions that asked about the family's educational background.
The posts soon raised heated debate.
Most online respondents said the school should not force such tests on parents, while others supported the idea.
"My parents are farmers, and they will not be able to answer any of the questions. If the school selected students like this, I would be doing farm work instead of postgraduate studies," said Sina Weibo user Huo Guanzhong, a student at Fujian Normal University.
"If they test parents, they should test them on morality, not on reasoning and logic," said another netizen with the online ID "Xuejijinghong".
On Sunday afternoon, the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission released a statement on its micro blog account stating that the two schools' practices "violate the compulsory education law and the city's basic principle of promoting fair education and protecting students' education rights".
In addition to canceling the questionnaires, the commission said it had also asked the two districts' education bureaus to launch an investigation.
It asked the schools to publicly apologise and announced a reduction in their enrollment quotas for next year.
It also alerted other private schools to avoid similar practices, and to enroll students according to the city's admission regulations.
In recent years, entering elite schools has become hot topic among parents, especially those who want their children to enter prestigious institutions.
In Shanghai, students who want to enter public schools can select schools based on their neighborhoods.
Students who choose private schools must attend interviews organised by the schools on days designated by educational authorities.
Over the weekend, 171 private primary and middle schools in the city held interviews.