China's toughest test just got harder
Last Tuesday was the most anticipated opening day of a new term for Yin Shirui, a high school student in Ganzhou, in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi. It came about two months later than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic. For final-year high school students in nine Chinese provinces, last week marked their return to campus after an extended winter holiday and weeks of online learning at home. “I don’t like learning on the internet at all. I stayed at home alone for most of the day, from morning until late in the afternoon,” Yin, 17, said. “I am not interested in what is taught in online class because the teachers there do not target me, or my class. They target the whole grad
Shanghai students protest after school dropped commitment to ‘free thinking’
Dozens of students at a prestigious university in Shanghai took part in a flash mob demonstration on Wednesday against changes to the school charter that removed commitments to “free thinking” and “democratic management.” The revised charter of the Fudan University vows to uphold the leadership of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, which has in recent years tightened ideological control in schools, spooking the country’s liberal thinkers. Campus security and teaching staff looked on as the students sang the first verse of Fudan’s school song, which celebrates the pursuit of academic independence and free thought without political and ideological influence. No slogans were shouted or banner
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
Why Chinese students keep coming to the US (for now)
Sun Hang, a 19-year-old first-year student from eastern China’s Zhejiang province, decided to study in the United States at George Washington University despite his concern about growing US-China tensions and the US government’s increasingly restrictive visa policy. “It will allow me to have a good resume, get a good job in China and enjoy myself,” said Sun, a history major dressed in a long black coat against the cold.  “US education is much better” than that in Australia or England, partly because of its better reputation, he added.  The allure of a US education for many Chinese appears, at first glance, to be holding firm.  Despite the US-China trade war, growing mutual distrust and a ram
Battle for No 2 Bridge: Hong Kong student protesters clash with police
The hillside campus of a top Hong Kong university was on edge on Wednesday after it was turned into a battlefield between masked student protesters and the police. Once known for its tranquility, the site of the Chinese University of Hong Kong became a flashpoint on Tuesday as riot police officers and students fought over a bridge on the eastern edge of the campus. Called the No 2 Bridge, the structure straddles the Tolo Highway, a major artery in the city’s New Territories region. Black-masked student protesters, huddled behind tables and other makeshift shields, clashed with riot police against the backdrop of swirling tear gas and the amber of raging fires. The resulting smoke could be s
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
China vows to punish rule-breaking foreign students
China’s education ministry says overseas students can expect severe punishment if they break the rules, after a spate of controversies involving foreigners studying at mainland universities. An unnamed senior ministry official said rules for overseas students should be broadly the same as for local Chinese students and that universities “should seriously punish" foreign students if they violate them, Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily reported over the weekend. The official said the education ministry had taken a firm public stance in response to heated online discussion in China over a string of incidents involving overseas students. An Egyptian student from #Fujian Agriculture and
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
The cost of shutting the door on Chinese students
As academia becomes the newest battleground in the intensifying rivalry between the United States and China, scholars have raised concerns over the cost of distrust on the American education system. Beijing on Monday warned Chinese students who wish to study in the US of increased visa denials as tensions mount over trade and technology. “This is the next iteration of where this is going as it moves from the economy and security to people-to-people,” said Jude Blanchette, a senior adviser with US-based consultancy Crumpton Group, and author of the book China’s New Red Guard. “Both the US and China are going to weaponize talent. China is not wrong to issue this warning.” Chinese nationals mak
Got bad grades? No air-conditioning for you
A high school in China has decided that not everyone deserves air-conditioning. Located in central China’s Henan province, Shangqiu No. 4 Senior High School stipulated that only two classes of seniors with exceptional grades can study in the comfort of cooled air. The rest of the senior students are asked to suck it up. The school went as far as cutting the cord in some classes where air-conditioners were turned on without authorization, video news portal Pear video reported on Monday. The report has ignited a heated online debate over inequality in the Chinese education system. In most public high schools in China, students are separated into classes based on their performances. Students w