university entrance examinations


university entrance examinations
University entrance exams have dominated the PRC secondary education system since the late 1970s, as they do in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Only a miniscule percentage of the students who participate do well enough to be admitted to an elite university, though a somewhat larger percentage are able to gain admission to either a non-elite four-year university or a technically oriented tertiary institution. Students who do not do well enough to get into the university of their choice the first time around sometimes choose to retake their senior year of high school in order to resit the exams.
University places are allocated through provinces and provincial-level cities. Consequently, students from those provinces with relatively few tertiary places but a strong secondary education system, like Hubei, require higher entrance exam scores than students from cities like Beijing and Shanghai to gain entrance to a same-tier university. This discrepancy leads to much resentment. Academic high schools devote themselves almost exclusively to preparing students for the exams, regularly keeping students in classes or study sessions eleven hours a day, six days a week.
Though the number of university places expanded during the 1980s and 1990s, the number of students qualified to sit for the exams has grown even more quickly. The resulting competition is so tough that students liken gaining admittance to university to ‘crossing a single-log bridge’ (dumuqiao) and refer to the month in which the exams take place as ‘Black July.’ Occasional cheating scandals remind everyone of the stakes involved.
Kipnis, A. (2001). ‘The Disturbing Educational Discipline of “Peasanto”’. The China Journal 46: 1–24.
Thogersen, S. (1990). Secondary Education in China after Mao: Reform and Social Conflict. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.
ANDREW KIPNIS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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