Travel bans and racism deter Chinese students from studying overseas
The coronavirus outbreak will likely lead to a drop in Chinese students and tourists abroad, as Chinese citizens face entry bans and xenophobic attacks globally.  The epidemic has infected more than 110,000 people and killed more than 3,800 globally, most of them in China. Italy, Iran, Japan and South Korea have also been hit hard by the virus.  Although the spread of the virus has slowed in China, analysts say the travel restrictions imposed on Chinese travelers will have continuing effect on the education and tourism sectors worldwide.  In the United States, a Boston-based Chinese student agent said applications had dropped significantly following the virus outbreak, exacerbating an existi
‘Ass-kissing’ research paper triggers discussion on academic misconduct in China
A research paper filled with praise for the author’s supervisor was met with a wave of ridicule and anger online in China’s latest academic scandal. The paper published in the Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology seven years ago suddenly went viral last week, after some internet users posted screenshots of the article on social media.  Many people were shocked to find that the article on ecological economics was actually filled with extravagant praise for the author’s supervisor Cheng Guodong and Cheng’s wife Zhou Youfen.  Cheng was also the chief editor of the Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology.  The 35-page paper by Xu Zhongmin, a specialist in frozen ground and permafrost with the sta
Charity for girls comes under fire for funding boys
A Chinese government-run charity aimed at helping poverty-stricken girls finish their schooling has prompted an online outcry after it was found to be funding boys’ education as well.  Despite a growing awareness of gender equality in urban China, girls, especially those in rural areas, still lag behind in their access to education due to long-held favoritism toward sons. To help provide education for poor girls, the state-run China Children and Teenagers’ Fund launched the Spring Bud Project in 1989.  The project’s promotional materials have almost entirely featured women, and China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan, is the charity’s special ambassador. But social media users found this week that a
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
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
How much pocket money should college students get?
A college freshman in China complaining online about her monthly allowance has stirred up a debate about how much pocket money students should get from parents. The student, who didn’t give her real name, said she had asked for 4,500 yuan ($632) a month from her mother, only to be told that she’d be getting only 2,000 yuan. The allowance is for personal spending, including restaurant meals. She said her mother pays separately for tuition and her dorm.  “Isn’t this the reality – that girls need more money, to buy skincare products and new clothes, than boys?” she said on a social media post. “I think other girls in my dormitory are rich because they use luxury items. I don’t understand why my