What happens when schooling goes online: China’s experience 
The number of children not attending school has soared as governments seek to contain the coronavirus pandemic by keeping down crowds. Unesco estimates that 1.2 billion students – nearly three-quarters of the world’s student population – are being affected by national or local closures, school postponements or schools that continue under special circumstances. A large portion of those affected students live in China, where the Covid-19 disease caused by the virus was first reported.  When the general public became aware of the outbreak in January, schools in China were on winter break. As the crisis grew, China began to implement extreme measures to fight the coronavirus and have closed most
Former Chinese university official fired after #MeToo allegation
Despite arrests and censorship campaigns, China’s #MeToo movement has succeeded in shedding light on problems of sexual harassment in the country, particularly in universities.  In once such recent case, a former vice-president of a top Chinese university was fired over allegations of sexual harassment after a six-month-long investigation.  Cai Xiang also faces charges of corruption and has been stripped of his Communist Party membership.  China’s education disciplinary commission and the party’s disciplinary watchdog for Beijing municipality found that Cai Xiang had maintained “inappropriate sexual relationships with several women, accepted bribes and misused public funds.” In July 2018, a
Nope, China isn’t celebrating its big win in test scores. Here’s why
Chinese teenagers ranked as the world’s best students according to results from a closely watched global survey announced on Tuesday. But unlike in the rest of the world, in China, the victory was met with a resounding shrug. The Programme for International Student Assessment is a standardized test for 15-year-old students around the world in reading, math and science. It’s administered every three years, with 79 countries participating. The Pisa, as the test is widely known, is regarded as one of the most important ways to directly compare different educational systems. China beat out education powerhouse Singapore and its results far outstripped the West.  However, for some Chinese educat
24,000 government jobs up for grabs in China. 1.4 million people applied
Imagine taking a job test with only a 1-in-60 chance of landing the gig.  That is the reality for the Chinese public service exam, or guokao in Mandarin. More than 1.4 million people took the test on Sunday in the hopes of landing one of 24,000 available government jobs. The hotly contested annual event advertised positions from 86 central government agencies and 23 institutions directly attached to them. Successful candidates would start their positions early next year, China News reported. This year’s 1.44 million registered test-takers represented a 4% increase from last year, but fell below the 1.66 million who took the exam in 2017, the report said. The guokao has long been a big draw
Chinese girl, 7, recovers after boys force scraps of paper into her eyes
Doctors spent four weeks removing pieces of paper from the eyes of a 7-year-old girl in China after an extreme bullying incident. Three boys stopped the young girl on her way to class and forced scraps of paper into her eyes. Doctors, who plucked-out dozens of paper fragments, said they had never seen a case like it, mainland media reported on Monday. The incident occurred in Yuzhou, a city in the middle of the central Chinese province of Henan, in September.  The girl said she was accosted by the boys as she returned to class after lunch one day.  “They opened her eyes wide … crumpled a few scraps at a time and squeezed them in,” her mother, surnamed Li, said. The girl complained of poor v
Chinese city vows to make school easier. The problem? Parents
After years of foot-dragging, one of China’s biggest cities finally made much-needed changes to its school curriculum: easier classes, fewer tests and no more after-school tutorial classes. The recent reforms made in some public elementary and middle schools in the eastern city of Nanjing are part of a long-standing national campaign. They’re meant to reduce the pressure cooker-like academic atmosphere for students as young as six years old. But the new educational philosophy is facing strong opposition from a surprising group of people: parents. They say the current system will disadvantage their children who will eventually have to compete against students from more traditional, competitiv
Chinese colleges want to fail more students (that’s a good thing)
A college in China has expelled 40 students for slacking off. That’s a rare move in a country where millions of students who start college every year are almost guaranteed to graduate, thanks to what analysts say is a lax culture that breeds lazy students. The expulsions underscore a renewed effort by Chinese universities to improve the quality of education amid a slowing economy and changing demands for the workforce. “To graduate from college is like a breezy walk in a park. That has to change,” Chen Baoshen, China’s education minister, said at a conference in 2018. “We have to make college courses more difficult, challenging and motivating.” In June this year, the Hebei Institute of Phys
‘War and Peace’ in 15 minutes? Speed reading classes ridiculed in China
Some of us came into the world prewired with speed reading ability.  Take Bill Gates. He reads fast. Really fast. At 150 pages per hour (750 words per minute), 15 books in a week and with a 90% retention rate, according to a Netflix documentary. An average eighth grader reads about 250 words per minute, an adult can do 350 words and the world speed reading champion can cram in 4,700 words a minute.   In China, thousands of parents are enrolling their kids in classes that claim to teach students, usually age 10 to 16, to read 400 pages, or about 100,000 characters, in five minutes.  That’s about four times faster than the world reading champ. When those courses, often called “quantum speed-r
China tells schools to step up patriotic education
The Chinese government has instructed schools to teach children to follow Communist Party values from an early age. The directive, aimed at primary and middle schools, is part of new guidelines issued by the  central government that also prohibits the use of teaching materials from outside China. “[The goal is to] promote patriotism, collectivism, socialist education, to lead children and youth to listen to the party and to follow the party,” it said. Chen Daoyin, a Shanghai-based political commentator, told Inkstone that the guidelines were part of efforts to “repoliticize” China’s educational system. “The Mao era was very political, everything had to do with ideology,” he said. “The last
Elite Chinese college ordered to stop paying a fortune to lure students
China’s education authorities have ordered an elite university to stop offering as much as 500,000 yuan ($72,670) in the race to attract the country’s top high school students. In a notice issued last week, the Chinese Ministry of Education told Zhejiang University in Hangzhou to stop using financial incentives to lure the best performers in the national college entrance exam, also known as the gaokao. Competition between colleges for the best and brightest students is fierce in the country. And it has been exacerbated by shifting social and demographic forces, said Wu Zunmin, a professor of education at East China Normal University. “In the past, elite students strived to get into these ver